Consulting is not delivered in a vacuum but rather towards a specific context: that of a client or client organization. Each client situation is unique and a good understanding of your client must be combined with the associated inputs, requirements and the expertise and experience of the consultancy to produce an effective consulting solution.

Think, for example, of a doctor consulting a patient. The doctor will try to learn as much as possible about the patient by reviewing medical records and conducting an examination. He will capture inputs in terms of symptoms or complaints by means of a carefully constructed dialogue and then finally apply his expertise and experience to recommend the course of action that is most suitable to the patient's situation. The treatment advice provided to different patients, even those with similar symptoms, could vary considerably depending on a number of situational factors.

To consult effectively requires an approach tailored, at least somewhat, to the client context. The better you understand your client, the more likely you will be able to provide a solution that will be effective. As in our doctor example, it is not uncommon to encounter two businesses experiencing quite similar challenges, yet the optimal solution approach may be different in each case due to factors such as the organization's structure, decision-making processes, internal culture and the local market situation. In short, we need to understand ...

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