- Many interventions have multiple clients and/or clients performing multiple roles.
- When you are ready to begin contracting for a client engagement, the key question is: “who is the real/ actual client?”
- One of the ground rules of contracting is, “you cannot contract with someone who is not in the room.” If there are important role-players who are not present at a contracting meeting you cannot assume or be certain that they support the intervention until you actually meet with them.
- Clients can be identified within four main role categories: influencer, decider, payer, and implementer. Some models add The names of these roles can vary depending on the model you utilise but the concepts remain the same.
- While any one person or a client group could fulfil one or all four of these role categories it is important to distinguish which role/s you are engaging with at any time.
- Introducer of the consultants: The Influencer is able to conceptually match what a consultant has to offer to what are perceived to be the needs and wants of the enterprise.
- The Influencer’s role may end with this conceptualisation.
- While an Influencer may be prepared to put forward convincing arguments in favour of a consulting intervention, the role does not necessarily extend to assuming the responsibility for it or to being accountable for the outcome.
- Could be an individual, however in most enterprises the decisions on consulting interventions are taken at a committee level, where responsibility and accountability are dispersed amongst committee members.
- Courage and confidence are the hallmarks of a Decider’s role, as both reputation and strategic direction are at stake when deciding on a consulting intervention.
- The Decider (whether a committee or an individual) takes on the role of being accountable for the intervention.
- Money, resources and time are involved in the cost of an intervention. The Payer, however, will be concerned primarily with the financial implications of an intervention.
- No matter how convincing the need for a consulting intervention, the payer will need to have;
- The financial capability to pay
- A reasonable understanding of the cost-benefit of the intervention.
- It is the latter which is both most important and most frequently neglected by consultants.
- The type of question asked by Payers is usually based on impact: “what will happen if we don’t have this intervention – in financial terms.”
- Takes responsibility, but not necessarily accountability, for an intervention. All too frequently implementation is delegated to individuals and groups who have not been involved in introducing, deciding or paying for the intervention. The Implementer will need to be convinced of the benefits of the intervention and will be involved in analysing, ordering and fitting the effects of an intervention into some logical and workable scenarios
- The successful outcome of an intervention bears a strong correlation to development of the relationship and understanding between the consultant and client. It is through the Implementer that the “transfer of technology” from consultant to client takes place.