What to Read: How Consultants Project Expertise and Learn at the Same Time

“Young management consultants may be novices, but they’re sold as experts. Conversely, even experienced consultants, who legitimately present themselves as experts, still feel like novices when they embark on a new project.

The challenge with effective consulting is that it depends on in-depth situational knowledge that consultants simply can’t have when they start an assignment. What’s more, they may not yet be completely clear on what the client — who’s paying top dollar and expects results immediately — really wants. So consultants must rapidly and discreetly gain knowledge of the client’s business while simultaneously giving an impression of competence and self-confidence. We call this challenge learning-credibility tension.”

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