Consulting Summit 2003, + + + +

By Al Berrios

If you're a consultant, and you haven't checked out this event hosted by Kennedy Information Systems, a top publisher for the industry, then you're missing out. Not only do you get to network with some of the biggest brains in the field, but you learn tons of new things about your industry and clients.

Primarily for consultants (not clients), one of the things I appreciated most about the events was that I met dozens of management consultants that didn't work for the big firms. As a small firm, there's no greater feeling than meeting other consultants with their game not as sophisticated as yours. Not only do I have better resources, better credentials, and better knowledge publishing infrastructure, we're even involved with executive events and have our own primary data gathering resources and methodology. Some big firms don't have all these things.

OK, enough bragging. The event's other big thing for me was it's underlying topic - behavior. The first discussion was on anti-social behavior - from consultants to clients. Yes, consultants are intelligent, but it turns out that some have interpersonal skills that rival Mr. Clip's, the Microsoft operating system help assistant. Clients find this often overbearing, egotistical, pay-me-and-shut-up mentality that consultants often have offensive and alienating. If someone's like that with you, would you still want to be their friend? Consultants, never forget that as focused as you are on your work, it's still work you're doing for the client.

The solution, develop relationships. Not a business relationship, but an actual working relationship: Do you like the client? Does the client like you? Can you listen to the client about their business? Their family? Their problems? Or do you find yourself telling the client what their problems are?

At the conclusion of this first presentation, many "old-hands" were awed at these glaring flaws in their professional character.

The second presentation I heard was on using pride to motivate employees and improve workforce productivity. That's right, pride. Not bonuses, vacations, stock options… pride. The speaker was on of these old-hands, with 40 years in the business of telling others what to do. I'd even identified his firm as a potential competitor to mine. But the bottom line is that he's defined a behavior in your workforce that if used properly will also save on costs. Turnover decreases, recruitment and training costs decrease, efficiency and innovation improve. The list goes on and on when you appeal to your workforce's behavior. Although this sort of strategy is coined industrial psychology, the bottom line is that understanding behavior, whether your clients', your workforce's or your customer's is the name of the game. I think Tom Stemberg, founder and Chairman of Staples said it best, "Forget 'branding' and 'positioning,' once you understand customer behavior, everything else falls into place."

Do you realize what this means? What you may have thought of as just a little niche, is actually top of mind of the biggest CEOs and smartest strategic thinkers on the planet. al berrios & co. has been helping executives like you understand how behavior impacts your business strategy for over 3 years. So by attending this conference, the ultimate thrill for me was that you now have access to one of those big strategic thinkers - us.

I couldn't stay for the entire event, but if the morning session was any indication of the event's quality, I can wholeheartedly recommend it (for consultants). The event was hosted at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City (conveniently next to Grand Central) on Nov. 13th and 14th (I attended Thursday morning, the 13th). The food, continental, but fairly good. Overall, I give this event four pluses, + + + +.


Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


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