There are many reasons to write a book such as “Infinite Shades of Grey”; personal gain, notoriety, debunking other “Get Rich Quick” books but alas it is more simple than any of these. Seeing bad consulting drives me nuts! So this book is intended to accomplish the following two objectives:
- to make good consultants excellent and help them quickly achieve the best possible success in their field and
- to make bad consultants realize the folly of pursuing their fictional careers and to find honest work elsewhere.
However, I suspect I can only realistically accomplish one of the two objectives, as a bad consultant would never purchase my book anyway. The scenarios used in the book are real. In places you will wonder, “Could that be true?” but it is. I will illustrate examples of consulting excellence contributed by myself and many other venerated professional IT consultants and I will coach readers through the steps to acquire and apply the techniques used. The book is a compendium of the best ideas shared by professional consultants who have both “been-there-done-that” and have reaped the rewards of doing it very well. All of the contributors have each made millions in consulting through demonstrated excellence. On the other hand, I will either amuse or horrify readers with stories of consulting frauds and incompetents and hopefully enable them to spot the tell-tale signs of a con and bad behavior.
The client was an IT outsourcer. They provided specialty applications to the insurance industry internationally. The nature of business, serving hundreds of different companies globally created a very complex infrastructure to connect with them. Few individuals had both the depth and breadth of knowledge to fully understand this environment but Igor did. Igor was a hard core technologist, undoubtedly one of the most highly skilled in the country. He understood every gateway, interface and protocol to the lowest level, each configuration requirement and every software requirement for each piece of infrastructure. In short, he was technically brilliant and one of the few people that could assist this client with all of their challenges maintaining and enhancing this environment. So after eagerly engaging Igor to assist them for a few days, the client promptly fired him.
On Igor’s first day he met with the client and asked for the documentation on the current configuration and a joint meeting. Igor reviewed the documentation and stated in the meeting “Well I see your challenge. It appears that this configuration was put together by school children from a Kindergarten class. Although I am not sure how many graduated into Grade 1…”
- Question for the reader? How many of the seven client personnel in the room participated in the design of the original configuration?
- Answer: Six of them and the seventh person was their new boss.
Clients hire IT consultants for their technical skills right? Yes, but technical skills are only a part of the equation. What you know and what you can do are important, but how you do it is even more important than both of those. If your client doesn’t enjoy working with you, your value diminishes. If they hate working with you, you are finished before you really start. Some project leads are savvy enough to recognize deficiencies in team member’s soft skills and put them in a locked room and slide Pizza’s under the door to keep them fed and away from the client, but you can’t count on this method to always be practiced or effective.
Throughout the book I will introduce you to a cast of real-life consulting characters, some excellent and some bad. (Buzzword Bianca, Hedgehog Harry, Surfer Sue and yes more from Incorrigible Igor) The scenarios gleaned from thousands of consulting engagements are all true but the names have been changed to protect both the innocent and unfortunately, the guilty.
Watch for it!
Infinite Shades of Grey: Advanced Consulting
Proposes a paradigm for consulting based on the understanding that the client’s problem, the process used and the potential solution should never be defined in black nor white but in infinite shades of grey. Grey removes the safety of absolutes, challenges you to be better at your chosen craft and enables you to make much better solutions for your clients.
Creating solutions that are not ordinary but extraordinary.
Having clients that are not just satisfied, but thrilled to work with you again and again.
The book equips you to deal effectively with the “grey” in consulting with a set of advanced consulting skills and techniques to augment your technical skill. These techniques have been thoroughly tested and proven to work from small engagements to mega-projects.
Ultimately, Infinite Shades of Grey is about creating great successes for your clients which in turn will mean great success for you as you strive for consulting excellence.