When I first started this book, it seemed to be very padded. Essentially I felt like what I was reading was a lot of fluff about what a consultant is and does. It felt very much like a manual on how to blag yourself into a job.
However with later chapters, I was completely convinced that the writer not only believes with every ounce of their body what they say, but also practices what they preach. The advice has practical use at many levels of an organisation and it really helps to read about tactics and strategies toward becoming a good consultant from somebody that has successfully seen their advice acted upon many times, as well as highlighting times where their expertise has sometimes failed and helping us avoid those pitfalls.
Essentially we are all consultants, in whatever job we are in. I feel more confident when dealing with co-workers and appreciate that the greatest skill of a consultant is finding the points where we as humans are falliable, and addressing those concerns whilst ensuring that those parties with a stake in a project are adequately satisfied with the implementation. Regardless of your status, I thoroughly recommend this book if you simply wish to work better and more efficiently with your colleagues. We are not granted all this knowledge innately, and whilst some of the solutions sound simple, it can be hard to see the solution when placed into a particular situation. This book at least ensures you are adequately prepared for dealing with at least some of the unknown.
on 27 June 2011
The only small critisim I would give this book is that it is a little long winded in parts, and some lengthy paragraphs could be be summarised by bullet points or diagrams so you can map them easier in your mind an remember the points.
On the positive side, the book is jam packed with information. Honestly, you would have to read it several times to take it all in, and defintely have to make notes as you go long. You almost need a pocket version to remember the wide range of areas covered from the steps you go through as a consultant life cycle to the reactions from the client.
I like the parts on how to difuse situations and understanding what clients really mean when they say certain phrases. Also, the book highlights the importance of reading body language. There are so many other interesting topics covered including how to structure the agreements with clients and when to pull out.
I would recommend the book for sure.
I have had this book for over 10 years and it is a classic. Very sound advice. Peter Block has clearly been around the block (no pun intended) and has plenty of experience in the consulting world. The examples that he provides are realistic and the solutions that he suggests clearly viable. I also like the tone of the author, supportive and not patronising style.
Whether you are a newbie to the consulting world or an experienced consultant this book is a reliable resource that should be in your personal library. I have now purchased the new and revised 3rd edition that covers important elements such as working in a virtual world, operating in a volatile environment and the importance of feedback and feedback meetings. Excellent book.
I also suggest to purchase Baker's "Implementing Value Pricing" for the pricing side of the business. Very useful and ideal companion to Block's book.
I have dipped in and out of this wonderful book countless times and each time I get something new from it. Apart from, as the title suggests, it being a consultancy guide it is also a great book for any manager to have in their toolkit. Although essentially text, the book is peppered with some really amusing drawings as well as checklists etc. to support the messages that are being conveyed.
What I like about the book it that it has no pomposity at all and is geared to facilitating the consultant to support the client in arriving at their own solution. Peter Block is open about his own vulnerabilities and hang ups too. The focus of the book is about selling your expertise (less in financial and more in credibility terms).It goes on to deal with using your expertise, but, with a great insight into the human aspects of that, such as building credibility, overcoming resistance, dealing with awkward (or even flirtatious!) clients, recognising bias and learning over teaching etc. There are numerous examples of situations and outcomes in the book.
This book is clearly written by a titan of management/consulting, but, also someone whose feet are firmly grounded and who applies his insight into the practical and human aspects of managing consultancy. A really, really good book. Recommended.
Peter Block first wrote this classic on the business of consulation over three decades ago, and has revised and updated this edition thoroughly for re-release. It takes us through the ins and outs of business consultancy and how to do it, from the beginning with definitions, through the various issues one is likely to face, including resistance, diagnosis, feedback and implementation.
I like this book because it is so clear and specific. It gives plainly-written examples without the need for stupid, muddly jargon. It makes a lot of the business books I've read come across as something out of a comedy show.
Although the book was written thirty years ago this edition contains all the latest thinking on the subject matter, tells you how to look at your client's problems, how to talk to them about it and what not to promise. The book itself is of good physical quality, suitable for leafing through again and again and the pictures are hilarious.
A must have for the business consultant, in my view.
Just to pop an illusion, consultants do actually care about their work having value. Many get paid a high fee and their brief never comes to life. The working life of a consultant is a balance of adding value and ducking politics. Did you know that some consultants are actually brought in just to prove a point between factions or to add power to those with the higher budget.
This book takes you through the steps of getting into the workplace, agreeing your brief and then coming out with benefits to the client. The consultant gets a much better reputation if he can show that a client has had results as a consequence of his advice. Understanding the psychology of the customer and managing relationships is essential to getting the job done. The majority of good deeds are performed by consultants who have a professional attitude and good communication skills.
on 21 August 2011
This book will be helpful for many people; even if you don't consider yourself to be a consultant, this book will probably be relevant to you. The book explains how the skills we usually associate with consultants and project managers are useful to most people. For instance, promoting your ideas within your organisation; dealing with clients; influencing and working with peers effectively; diffusing a volatile situation; or working with consultants and project managers. It does cover the more formal consultant role but also covers the less formal consulting that many people perform day-to-day.
It considers situations from the side of the consultant and the customer, giving a very comprehensive and rounded view of every situation covered.
There are plenty of examples to illustrate the points made.
This book does not focus on a particular working environment or industry; it talks about core skills and techniques, which is why it is still as relevant today as it was when it was written in the early 1980s. As technology has progressed and management buzz words have changed the basic skills required to succeed in business have remained the same. If you want to read about a more specific subject area, for instance the latest fad for running IT projects or a particular project management framework such as Prince2, you will need to look elsewhere. But you will still need to master the core skills described in this book.
The writing style and presentation of the book makes it easy to read and it is easy to look up a particular topic. I see this as the type of book you keep nearby and refer to from time to time, rather than being a book you read cover-to-cover then never open again.
I recently started a new job which involves a degree of consultancy work in a role that hasn't existed before in a semi start up environment. A bit of a blank slate situation. I thought this book might give me some ideas. I did a bit of research as well and discovered that this is apparently the academic standard text book on consultancy. So I ploughed on. I think this is an excellent point by point how to manual. It introduces the subject very well and gives you step by step processes and analytical tools to follow when engaging in consultancy. It is also good in pointing out that pretty much any environment and situation involves a degree of consulting as in getting your views across, having them accepted and acted on whilst remaining aware that any action is going to be carried out in a co-operative manner and in a situation where you have influence but not executive power. I found the books step by step, point by point approach to be highly effective and each page gave me cause to pause and consider what aspect of my work that would relate to, how to follow the processes outlined and what to come up with for that stage and how to implement the ideas and formulas the book outlines. It really is a bit like a technical manual on for example how to dismantle an engine and put it back together. It enabled me to examine my roles and tasks in a far more methodical manner and work out the exact processes I needed to implement and what pit falls to avoid and how to accomplish my objectives in a friendly, co-operative, objective manner. I give the book a big thumbs up and would recommend it as a first rate How To technical manual on dealing with your role in the work place, not simply a consultancy book. Highly recommended.
on 27 July 2013
This is the first book tat I have read which focuses on the importance of putting the time and thought into setting up an engagement so that it has a better chance of being a successful experience for everyone involved. It is very practical giving a series of steps for each stage. A great investment of time.
Books in thsi category are usually boring with long boring phylosophical quotations so I was really surprised when this turned out to be EXTREMELY interesting. It has some humour that just grips you as a reader and once you pick up, it's hard to put it down! One more plus is that it's hard cover and will last 'a lifetime'. Have you ever read a book where you keep saying "Ooh ya, so that's it!", "Huu, this is exactly what i was experiencing on that Project" or "so that's how it is done!". Some things, it's like you know them, the book just helps you discover what you already know.
I have read a couple of books on consultancy and this is way the best of them all! I got it at a time when I had problems with a client who just would not talk. It appeared the client was interested in the Project but many stakeholders we not just supporting me and demonstrated low motivation. I found an exact scenario in this book and the solution. This is a brilliant text with real world solutions.
I wish I had read this book a year or so ago because then I would have saved both time and my sanity. Somehow I had a tendency of just proceeding with a project since a client says they want it without analysing it's chance of suceeding. I read a chapter that explains how you can tell whether or not a project has a good chance of succeeding based on the client's input into the project. You might say some things are straightforward but for some of us who work with computers, common business knowledge is not really common so a book like this can go along way as a guide. I am not and will not advise that you just read and implement the solutions in a cut -and- paste manner, I take it as a guide.
There is just so much in the book that just after reading a few chapters, I no longer need to google as much as I did regarding contracting issues. I am sure future negotiations will be more professional and less painful. I plan to get more copies for pepole I work with so that we form a team that is knowledgeable.
I love this book!!!