Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you make sure our working relationship is on target?
First, we find out all we can about client needs and desires. An RFP is helpful but not essential. Telephone conversations are essential. We listen hard. We confer among ourselves. Our proposals can be modified as client needs and desires become clearer. We search for the best approach to minimize cost and assure client involvement in each step of the engagement. We avoid unpleasant client surprises through good communication.
2. How do you go about your assignments?
We work closely with client personnel. Many of our engagements involve research, which may include primary data gathering such as interviews, telephone surveys, online surveys or the use of psychological instruments. Results are fully documented so the client can expand on our interpretation and later use it as benchmark data. Other engagements involve facilitated workshops or one-on-one interviewing.
3. What do we end up with?
We strive to assure client involvement so that the end result is a team effort, drawing on the best from each of us. We believe in reports — not to justify our fee — but to facilitate client follow-up. One comment made by a long time client is that he still references our report quarterly. Our greatest satisfaction comes when a client feels improvements being made have been internally generated and we served primarily as catalysts that clarified client thinking and focus.
4. How do you handle the fees? What are the fees based on?
We nearly always write a “proposal” (at no charge) which may be as brief as a letter. It provides a summary of the situation, agreed-upon objectives, a step-by-step work plan, staff to be assigned, schedule, general conditions and the project’s professional fee. Out-of-pocket expenses are charged separately at our cost (we fly coach). Infrequently, we quote a daily fee.
5. What if I want to make changes once the project is started?
We seek to clarify needs and objectives during the proposal process. Once the engagement is underway, we are flexible and closely communicate with the client. Major changes to the work plan or schedule will be confirmed by letter but most minor changes are easily accommodated.
6. Do you use proprietary techniques?
Most of our consulting draws upon our experience, research performed, good listening, analytical and problem-solving skills. We have a planning model we have used nearly 400 times. Testing instruments may be proprietary.
7. Is our information confidential?
In a word, YES. Reputable management consultants pride themselves in maintaining client confidentiality. We subscribe to the Code of Ethics of the Institute of Management Consultants, of which David R. Bywaters, CMC, is a founding member.
8. Isn’t Kansas City an inconvenient place to work from?
Much is done by phone and e-mail. On site visits to client offices are generally measured in days. Workshops with senior organization leaders are generally held at destination locations. Location is not a big issue and we like living here.