How to Strengthen Client-Consultant Relationships

by Donna C. Rona, Rona Coastal Consulting, P.O. Box 49012, Key Biscayne, Fla.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 3, Pg. 52-54

Document Type: Feature article


Effective use of a professional consultant is often diminished by poor management-staff communication. Consultants, because of their previous experience, may be able to provide input to a project as a whole, but consultants are often brought in to work on part of a project without complete knowledge of the whole project. Their skills and expertise are thus, often underused. For the consultant, dealing with the firm's staff may be sensitive. Staff may consider the management decision to bring in outside experts a demeaning of their professional status. The staff may also view it as an indication that their jobs are in jeopardy. These views are usually based on poor communication or ignorance about the consultant's role. In hiring consultants, companies need to outline their goals from the beginning. A well-defined setting for consultant interaction should be established. By simple techniques, the focus of the consultant-management-staff team on a quality project may avoid conflicts.

Subject Headings: Client relationships

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