What the client wants, what the client needs and the CuSat dilemma.


If doctors were trained and employed by large consulting firms mortality rates worldwide would skyrocket.

Patient – “Doc, I’ve got a migraine headache. I need some Tylenol 3’s to settle it down”.

Consulting Doc – “Sure, let me get you a prescription immediately”

The patient is very happy with the Doc, gives high marks on a CuSat survey until the stroke hits. Unfortunately some consulting firms place a point-in-time Customer Satisfaction checkpoint as their most important goal and unfortunately that drives bad/unprofessional consultant behaviors.  In the example above, the client does not want to be subjected to an MRI, they do not want a full screen blood test, they do not want to be sitting in the examination room having a flashlight shone into their eyes. But the professional doc is going to do it anyway.  If the hospital surveys the patient in the middle of the series of tests they are likely to respond. “The Doc is crazy, I just have a migraine!” and provide a Dissatisfied customer response. They may think differently when the proper diagnosis and prescription provided likely prevented a stroke.

Clients are not always right and don’t like to be told they are wrong.

Most if not all of us have had the experience as a parent, sibling or friend similar  to the following one. You are walking along the street with a group of young children. One of the them is your prototypical hyperactive one and has errantly wandered into the road from the sidewalk. There are two different remedial actions you can take.

“Johnny, Can you please stay on the sidewalk because there is a lot of….” . SPLAT! too late.  Alternatively, you reach out and grab the youngster by the shirt collar and haul them back onto the safety of the sidewalk. Send the kid a CuSat survey at that moment and you just got a DSAT.

Clients are not always immediately happy with the required action.

If as a consultant you place momentary CuSat as your highest priority, you are not being professional and neither is the company you represent. Some of the right decisions and actions are both hard and painful at stages in the engagement, but they are the right thing to do ultimately for your client.

I have done a lot of very large scale projects over the years and through that experience have learned architectural/project approaches that work and have seen others that have not. In some cases the decisions made early in the project, did not manifest their pain until much later in the project. Impact that could never have been seen at the time and available only now through experience to forecast the future.

There are lots of cool ideas at the start of a project. It’s not going to get you any “Great Team Player” accolades at  that time, to shoot them down. Yet as a professional consultant, the client has engaged you  because of your experience. To withhold it for fear of a CuSat ding is unprofessional. The sad part is the client won’t even know that you saved them, because the problem will never happen and that’s just the way it is.

Doc – “Take 80 mg of ASA every morning, every day”

Patient – Grumbling “Yeah, ok”  (not realizing that first stroke that was scheduled a month away was just prevented)

Professionalism above CuSat?

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