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Are You Grateful for the Hand That Feeds You? Don’t Forget Your Core Principles!

As a business consultant or a project manager it is easy to drift away from the core principles of what business is about. The roles become more about problem solving (and often in an arena where cash is being found to solve those problems), and less about great service and customer focus.

Consider the news about Jamie Oliver and I think that we can see the point I am making – his business moved away from the very principles that set the business up. Jamie had a great name and at the outset very authentic restaurants with lovely food and a fun team. As time went on that core of authenticity and quality slowly became eroded (I know the rates get increased and competition comes along – but a lot of that competition is still there despite the rates – how come?)

In my experience of his restaurants they got further and further away from what they started out as. The staff forgot the ‘Jamie Way’, the added value bits got withdrawn, restaurants were cold, too many seats, they ran out of basic ingredients so they couldn’t serve the full menu etc etc

The principles of business are such that market forces influence the goals of the business, customers have expectations about cost, behaviour and value. In the consultancy field, the longer the consultant works with a business the further they get away from the proposal that was pitched – and bought at the outset. The consultant becomes close to the team and is either more like them or disdainful of them. The value diminishes as confidence and a sense of security grows. Service development takes a back seat and the support and guidance that was proposed reduces. If the customer perceives a loss of value – particularly as other pressures apply then they can and do, make new choices and go for a shiny new supplier who will offer the same and potentially deliver it better because they are new and fresh.

It becomes easy to forget that ultimately the customer can withdraw the consultant from the business and find someone else. What could you do today to make your customer feel that you care about them and are grateful that they have you in their business?

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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