Demon on a bench: Fremantle, AustraliaLast month we talked about what it would take to Live the Consulting Dream. In announcing the topic on Twitter, @MariaGajewski sent this response:

Can we have a question about “When the Dream Turns Into a Nightmare?” I’m having one of those weeks. #NPCons

We’ve all had weeks like Maria’s – client stuff that arises mid-engagement that throws us for a loop.

Stuff they never mentioned prior to our beginning work, that hugely impacts our ability to get the job done.

Or an unforeseeable crisis – a key person being somehow taken out of the picture (new job, emergency, etc.)

Or six jobs that were never noted in the contract – tasks YOU assumed THEY would be doing, and THEY assumed YOU would be doing. Tasks you are clearly NOT getting paid for, but that, if you don’t do them, will prevent your deliverables from being deliverable!

There are as many variables for what can turn a dream gig into a nightmare as there are variables of human behavior. ¬†One thing that is pretty constant – blame starts to flow. Whether it is the client blaming you, you blaming the client, you blaming yourself (or the full moon, or the fact that Saturn is in retrograde, or…) – when the nightmare begins to strike, blame is simply a warning sign that we are feeling out of control.

So this month, let’s focus on the things we CAN control:

  • What can we do to better ensure smooth sailing in our consulting engagements?
  • How can we minimize surprises?
  • How can we prepare / propose / think things through early on, to prevent mid-game disasters?

Join us for a lively discussion on Tuesday, May 17 at 1pm US – PT (4pm ET). Bring your “nightmare” stories and let’s see how we can begin to nightmare-proof our work!