For the sake of a more harmonious relationship, both sides of the client/consultant divide should learn from each other.
As you would expect of a consultant, I feel compelled to start out by managing expectations. There is, of course, no such thing in our consultancy-trained minds as a bad client: after all, each and every client I have had the pleasure of working with has had the good sense to select myself and my team from a plethora of alternatives. Many that I’ve worked with over the years have become regular collaborators, sometimes good friends. It is a challenge, then, to be tasked with writing about things that consultancies want, expect or dread from their in-house employers. Over the years of working with communications, marketing, public relations, human resources, public affairs and varied other professionals (sometimes even a CEO or two) from companies big and small, across a range of sectors, some patterns of behaviour do emerge, and I note them here strictly in the spirit of better client-consultant relationships. Please note that the situations and characters below are a fictitious construct, and any similarities with people I have had the pleasure of working with are entirely coincidental...
Julia Harrison is senior managing director and partner at FTI Consulting. Based in Brussels, she is a political communications specialist and was previously CEO Europe of an international consultancy. She has 26 years of public affairs experience and has been with FTI for nine years. She is a founding board member of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, and sits on the European Public Affairs Consultancies Association management committee and the European Commission‘s Network of Women in Decision-Making.