I think there are many classifications of consultancy/advice. One of them refers to client relationship with the truth. From this perspective, the consultancy would divide into two types: one where the client has access to truth (to informations), but this does not involve the participation of self manager, and another in which access to truth and its use implies an unconditional change in self-manager, spoke in terms of the ancients, that means that only who can self-govern, can govern.
Take for example a case that the client needs to have access to information about financing. Theoretically, this type of consulting would not seek any disputes about values of parties involved. There are situations, not less, the consultant discovered that among the values that form the basis for financing projects and customer value are greats differences, prior learning does not match the requirements of funding programs. We speak, in this situation, by the tendency to speculate, to use the funds in another register than that required by financiers. Many times, the consultant is required, when finding this cleavage, to clarify the risks which client is exposed to. The consultant is, in this situation, the expression of the juridical form of anticipatory, a potential threat, not coercion.
Obviously, in this posture, the consultant has a problem-dilemma too, that of losing a client, and also not to expose to legal action, dilemma that translates to his consciousness. In addition, he becomes the bearer of the customer problem, reached the status of the priest who is charged with the faithful testimony, without the benefit of any clause or any defense mechanism socially recognized and appreciated. We speak, in this case, about the placement of consultant on a board who sits resting on two supporting elements, one is the law and the other is the religion, one is the disciplinary power and the other one is the pastoral power, one is the rule and the other is the moral value.
There is another position where the consultant comes from customer's situation in relation to the truth. It is the case of the customer which by its own values, decisively influence the look of his company, the look of company`s culture or organizational climate. If we talk about the social responsibility of business, we can not exclude the self-manager. If talk about firm's ability to face crisis, we can not circumvent the importance of loyalty and values and, therefore, the organizational culture. How can a manager ensure the loyalty of his employees if he does not focus on values? Companies are becoming more abstract. This means that their work is based on trust, which is a consequence of equity schemes, a mixture, as shown Fayol, between goodwill and spirit of justice. What is the role of the consultant in this situation? Well, to see the medium and long term consequences of such an approach, to indicate what is not seen today, but tomorrow may cause problems.
Undoubtedly, the role of the consultant is to be a kind of guide. He is in a position to raise the toughest questions that can help the manager to identify the way, he can tell which is the consequence of a decision, but can not replace the manager decision. However, for this, the consultant must be honest, must see the client business as a personal affair, to assume customer fears and anxieties. We speak about solidarity and commitment. So, when you read a quote or talk to a consultant, my recommendation is to see what kind of man is, what value lies, how he sees the world, the future, in short, for what he lives.
(Intervention by Ştefan Ungurean, held at the AMCOR consultants Conference, Mamaia Constanta)