"The essence of consultancy is simply stated, and you should never fail to bear it in mind. You are there to do the dirty work.

Somebody, perhaps the boss, but possibly merely a would-be boss, knows perfectly well what needs to be done.

He has taken you on to put what he wants to do into words in the form of recommendations in a report. He has done this, in part, because your report will appear to the uninformed to be impartial, and will carry far more weight than the same recommendations if made by himself or by any other of the participants involved.

He has also called you in so he can shelter behind your report and thereby:

1. Reduce the flak that arises from making unpopular changes (i.e. any changes).
2. Avoid the reluctance that arises from sacking people.
3. Evade exposing the viciousness of his feeling for a deadly rival.

It is therefore essential you never make the elementary mistake of supposing for a single moment that any of your careful recommendations will necessarily be put into effect. To believe it is to misunderstand the true nature of the consultancy business."

Nigel Viney: Bluff your way in consultancy