'Consultants, like the poor, are always with us. Most big corporations use them repeatedly and regularly, yet we're quick to point the finger of blame at them when things go wrong. Post-Y2K and the dot.com bubble, I found Fiona Czerniawska's The Intelligent Client: Managing your Management Consultant a salutary reminder that it takes two to tango. We're all familiar with the image of the consultant who comes in, takes our watch, tells us the time and then charges us for it. But don't clients need to be clear about what they're looking for in the first place?
The Intelligent Client is one of a series of books from The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) and rightly makes the point that, despite the mass-appeal of books along the lines of 'How to be a Successful Consultant', there's virtually nothing on the market on being a Successful Client.
Using an array of actual consulting projects to illustrate the point, it's a thought-provoking and comprehensive look at what it feels like to be on the receiving end of consultancy - and should be on the desk of anyone looking to hire consultants.'