Take time to build relationships when serving as an outside consultant.
Coming into an organization to serve as a consultant on a change project requires many skills and a great deal of experience. One needs tact, political savvy, the ability to read people, and, of course, knowledge of group dynamics.
In "7-Phase Consulting Model for Change Projects," the January 2018 issue of TD at Work, Alan Landers advises on how to have a good working relationship with your client. As you begin your initial contact, take time to listen and inspire confidence. Landers suggests the following actions.
Build relationships. This means being honest and respecting the knowledge of everyone in your client organization, not just the C-suite. "The people you meet along the way will be your supporters or your detractors. You will want them on your side when you approach the ultimate decision makers."
Establish credibility. Be able to speak the vernacular of your potential client. Know how the business operates, and the typical challenges similar industries experience.
Ask questions. Encourage employees at the client organization to speak about their goals and the reason they're reaching out to you. Do this without coming across as condescending; come across as a person who cares.
Introduce the potential positive and negative outcomes of the change resulting from the solution. Don't overpromise, but be upbeat and convey confidence that comes from research and experience.
These tips were adapted from the January 2018 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at www.td.org/TDatWork.