Professionals, and more particularly consultants, are in a privileged position of providing services to clients that can have a significant influence on the client’s success, both commercially and reputationally.
However, in engineering as with other professions, the true value of a professional’s service is being misunderstood or more concerningly, ignored.
For reasons that are unclear to most in the profession, decisions involving the choice of consultants and the role they play in an outcome seem to be mutually exclusive in the eyes of many decision makers.
Choices seem to be made on the basis that irrespective of who is engaged, the same outcome will eventuate. For some informed and sophisticated clients this is clearly fantasy, but alarmingly many clients do not understand or recognise the true impact of their naivety.
So, the first step to promoting value for money is ensuring the client acknowledges that decisions produce different outcomes.
Secondly, making a decision with respect to professional appointments carries accountability, without any guarantees or surety of a particular result. Those deciding who to entrust as their consultants are often fulfilling this role on behalf of others. Here lies a further challenge in authentic decision making. The problem is not in the ability to decide, it is in the avoidance of making a decision that carries both accountability and uncertainty.
With more regularity we see decisions being made that are easy to justify, but fundamentally flawed.
When a decision is made by an individual for the pure benefit of the individual, there is comfort in accepting responsibility for that decision. You generally choose a Doctor, Accountant, Lawyer or Dentist for specific reasons; sometimes based on referral, but rarely based on price.
When choosing certain products such as a house, car, boat or even clothes, price range matters but value for money usually governs.
So, the final key step to promoting value for money is to engage directly with clients and individualise the decision-making process. Allow the client to carry the responsibility and only be accountable to themselves, with full self-acceptance that by making the decision, they are realising true value for money.