Insights Session – The Two As of Consulting: Authenticity and Altruism

At Sage’s partner conference, Insights, I will be presenting a session entitled The Two A’s of Consulting: Authenticity and Altruism (GEN28)  on Wednesday at 9:30am.

In order to begin the conversation even before the conference begins, I am posting the abstract and inviting all possible participants to share their ideas and questions.

This session will be dedicated to the possibility that consultants can improve the life and business success of their customers. Consulting (and this session) is (are) not for everyone. Achieving the goal is not easy as it requires us to look deep into ourselves and examine our beliefs as people. When you distill it down consulting is more about behaviors than technical skills. You are hereby invited to open a dialogue on the two behaviors of authenticity and altruism by Ed Kless who will facilitate this session.

Authenticity will be defined as putting into words what you personally are experiencing. Very often, this means stating your emotions in an emotionally neutral way.

Altruism in the context of this session will be defined as other-centeredness. Our willingness to help others create value is one of the high points of being a consultant, but that does not mean that this is done without recompense. In fact, George Gilder has said that, “Profit is an index of our altruism.”

These are heady topics, but necessary ones to fully understand if we are to be great consultants. In order to prepare for our dialogue, I would recommend reading Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting and George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty.

Also, please post thoughts, questions, comments below.

7 thoughts on “Insights Session – The Two As of Consulting: Authenticity and Altruism

  1. This reminds me of the Zig Ziglar saying – “You can have everything in life you want if you first help enough other people get what they want”

    I find this saying to be almost universally true — and always helpful to keep at the front of my mind.

    The way I always have interpreted it is to offer as unbiased a recommendation as possible with as full disclosure of the pros/cons even when it means you are talking yourself out of work.

  2. Our motto with each and every consultant on our staff is to put yourself in the client’s shoes. If you were to receive a billing for the service you performed and billed for, is it something you would pay? Was there value in what you provided to the client, such that they would pay your invoice?

    It’s easy to bill clients, but you want to make sure they’re happy to pay for the service provided. That’s where “raving fans” come from!

  3. For many years I was an HR Director using Abra (DOS) with very little budget or support from the rest of my organization. Remembering how I felt with my limited resources has stood me in good stead as a Sage Abra consultant, particularly in these difficult times. My clients need to feel that they get more than their money’s worth.

  4. When I first worked in a CPA firm 25 years ago, one of the partners once told me that most of the staff “serviced the work”, while only a few truly “serviced the clients” and it was these few who would end up becoming Partners. I see the same in our company and our industry. While we all may think we are providing great customer service, the reality is, many of us (including me) often fall into the trap of servicing the work (or in our case “servicing the implementation project”) and lose sight of whether we are truly helping the customer be more successful. I am hoping this session will bring some new ideas to help us focus more on the client and less on the work.

  5. Ed: This is from our Mission Statement that we wrote in 1990 and still is a foundation of our business, and is on the wall next to my desk.
    “Our Customers:
    Our Objective is to build strategic partnerships with our customers.
    We place top priority on umderstanding the long-term goals of our customers. We meet our customer’s needs and expectation by providing services which support the achievement of those goals.
    Premier service is the standard by which we serve our customers and evaluated our own performance.
    Customer service is the foundation of the company. Our attitude and actions support this basic premise.”

    This was all written when we were just an Accounting Service company before we entered into a relationship with any Software Manufactures. The conflict exists with me today still when I deal with a Software Manufacture such as Sages who’s primary focus is the sell software. So I get called to this day many new customers that were sold by a big out of town reseller and a bad deal with not much after the sale service, and we end up cleaning up the deal, turn the customer around because of our focus on the customer service instead of the quick deal. That is the one pain that I am always working through. Look forward to seeing you again Ed. Mike Renner

  6. Hi Ed;

    Maybe I am putting it too simple, but I believe the Golden Rule, “Of do unto others as you would have others do unto you” should be foremost in our minds as consultants, when we are performing services for our clients. Also, some how we need to raise up the next generation of consultants with the spirit of excellence in their DNA. It is easy to lose site of of these principles on a day to day basis.

    I look forward to any insight that you and others may have to teach these principles to the staff.

    Denise

  7. Honesty and integrity and acting as a independent consultant versus drinking the vendors KoolAid and taking sides is really important. I provide solutions from more than one vendor and this forces me to look at the real differences and sort through the noise for clients.

    There is alot of dishonestly out there and folks will do anything to sell and earn a living. Down right lying is not out of the question. Buyer beware as the shiny new car still has to be paid for, every month.

    I can help them go in any direction they choose and am learning to continue asking questions to understand their motivation and what others are telling them and what they do and don’t believe as a result which enhanced my intelligence and that is what I am selling.

    PF

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