How to be a good management consultant

This is a re-issue of a post I made in 2010.

Here are some guidelines for management consultants.

Your job is to help the client to solve a problem they have or help the client to exploit an opportunity.

Do your homework in advance – do not borrow your client’s watch to tell them what time it is.

Start the assignment by asking what the client needs or thinks they need. Next, ask the client what they want (i.e. within the constraints of time, money and available resources).

Remember the logical order of work – “first the problem, then the solution”. Usually, this means that a top/down approach is  required.

Don’t tell the client what you think they need.

Don’t pitch buy-low/sell-high “solutions” to your clients. All advice given should be accompanied by an estimate of risk plus a reminder of uncertainty (i.e. the only certainty regarding the future is that it will be different from what most people predict).

Charge a proper per diem rate. If you don’t value your time, how can you expect your client to value your time/contribution?

As you arrive, start to plan your departure. You are on site to communicate expertise, transfer methods/technologies and effect a handoff so that the client can move forward on their own.


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2021 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions Number of accessing countries 2010-2020 : 168
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