When I started Beta Thoughts one of the very first categories I had created was consulting. Idea was to share some of the thoughts, best practices etc. that I have gained over the years. During the last few years I have been to many places, got to be part of exciting teams, different work environments etc. One thing that has remained constant is two golden rules that were told to me by Michael Chio, an excellent consultant on my very first consulting gig in Bay Area. I have lost touch with him over the years but I still remember his golden advice. Here they are

Never Say No – Never say a out right no to what is asked from you. Besides isn’t it true that given enough time and effort most of things can be done. Even in cases where you know that this task cannot be done, ask more questions to about the task, get more clarifications of the variables of the problem being asked. It may be the case that you haven’t understood the problem. If still you think the answer is no give enough simple and clear reasons why the task can not be done.

Do not panic – this might be written on the front page of Hitch Hiker’s guide to galaxy but it is also true in consulting world. You might have blown away the last week’s effort but do not I repeat do not panic. Your panic situation will send an exponentially higher signal to the client. There is nothing worse than a consultant panicking in front of a client. Analyze the reasons it happened and what you need to do to resolve this.

I have added a third rule to this

Communicate – Humans like to talk. It is very important that you are talking about your progress with your client. You might be doing a yeoman’s job but without communication it might not be as worthful. It doesn’t help to just sit there and do your job one needs to talk to peers and higher ups.