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Business Development

When Consultant Leaves Your Firm

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When key consultants leave your organization, it's seldom pretty.  Usually, they're heavily involved inside client companies, and they hold key relationships.

In this case, there was so much business we opened a satellite office in Houston, and hired a former executive in the client company to work as a consultant for us—consulting back to her former employer. Everyone inside the client company loved Connie, so when she left in a huff, we had a lot of explaining to do. This letter led to personal meetings that defused the situation.

April 29, 20—


Jared Grantham
Human Resources Manager
Oil Production Holdings Corporation
300 Financial Drive
Houston, TX 77026

Dear Jerry,

As you know, Constance Eck has left CareerLab to take a job elsewhere.  That is disappointing for all of us.

We opened our Houston office to serve OPH's outplacement needs, and as you know-fortunately for you—outplacement has diminished to a trickle.  Now you're in an up-cycle, and many OPH personnel managers have the opposite problem: you can't hire enough good people fast enough.

Therefore, in the last six months we at CareerLab have gone through precisely what you went through in the mid-80s:  the loss of our market and a downturn in business.  The decline in business is what set the stage for Connie's departure.  We attempted to broaden our services and sell more to companies outside the OPH umbrella, but we couldn't accomplish it fast enough. 

Connie is unhappy about her departure and said she encouraged you not to do any further business with us. 
I hope that will not be the case.  We have a long history of working side-by-side in the most difficult, critical, and uncomfortable of circumstances.  I began work for OPH in 1982, and since then we have helped several hundred former employees get re-employed.  Many of them are still our friends. 

Jerry, I believe you have been in human resources long enough to know there are two sides to every story, not matter how convincing one person might be.  Connie says she has explained her side to you.  However, we in CareerLab view some of the issues differently. 

April 29, 20—
Page Two


I don't feel a need to rehash the past, but as Connie's friend, I'm sure you have many unanswered questions.  If you do, I'd like to address them fully and completely.

I plan to call you in the next 10 days to be sure you received this letter and to see if we can arrange a time to meet face-to-face.  In the meantime, if you want to talk, please give me a call at 1/800/555-0007. 

With best wishes,

William S. Frank

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.