The 10 Commandments in Professional Services (1-5)


The Ten Commandments are 'guides for living in society', and apply just as much in any individual aspect of our life as they do as guides for the whole of our lives.

So how do the Ten Commandments relate to Professional Services?

By Professional Services, I'm referring to Management Consultancy, the use of knowledge and experience gained in one organisation or environment to help a client achieve something in another organisation or environment.   Perhaps not all Ten apply - let's see . . .

You shall have only one God

I prefer to set out the basic principles of the way I will work up front, during the scoping phase.  Of course my clients want to review any report before it is published.  But I also know that they want an independent and honest report, both because then they can make accurate decisions, and also because it will support the external persona they want to convey, of being transparent and honest. My clients select me, and I also select them.  I don't work for people or organisations that need to the truth distorted and require it of their external consultants.

What have I actually given away?  If I can't explain the situation in a clear and honest way, and then convince my client that it is in their interests to make the necessary changes, then I'm not worth the fee.  On this site you can see copies of the nationally relevant and published reports, including The ECP Report and Measuring the Benefits of the Emergency Care Practitioner, The South Yorkshire Laboratory and Payment by Results, The Ambulance Review, A Social Return on Investment Study of Quality Checkers.  All reports that tell the unvarnished truth, because with accurate information you can make accurate decisions.  It's worth sticking with truth.

You shall have no other Gods but Me

Many tempting shortcuts show up along the way.  I could earn more by fitting in a rush job for this client, which means I let my older client down by failing to meet their deadline.  I could do a fluff piece (talk up someone's product or initiative) to gain favour, and risk forever compromising my integrity.  I could fail to prepare, taking on a task that is outside my competence without allowing enough time to make myself competent at it.  So many temptations, so many little "gods" like money, like the adulation of the marketing company, like temporary influence.  But there really is only one God, and to turn away from the integrity of walking in God's way is to chase other "gods"

You shall not take the Lord's name in vain

Sometimes it is tempting to "blag" it.  I know I have a reputation for knowing a lot and for having an opinion on many things, and it is hard won by extensive reading, extensive studying, and extensive thinking and debating.  There are times when it is tempting to say "and the answer is . . ." knowing that some people will believe me.  But it wouldn't be right.

It is also tempting, when I'm frustrated, to blaspheme.  But this would be to undermine the commitment that I've made to serve the one God and to do everything that I do, well aware that He is watching.  Even if He isn't judging me, I am judging myself!

One day in seven you shall rest

There's a time to work, and a time to celebrate.  I know that for myself, if I work too much, if I do too many days in a row, then the quality of my work deteriorates.  When I was in a salaried job (before consulting), the times I worked as a contractor, I took a day of unpaid leave.  I kept my paid leave and my weekends to refresh myself so that I had the right rest and recreation to be able to give of my best for the company who paid my salary.  The same applies in consulting - I take the rest days, one day per week, which keep me refreshed.  I do my training and learning on the six days that I have available, and on the seventh I don't do paid work or tasks connected with paid work.

Napoleon tried to decimalise, and tried a 10 day week with one day rest (people got too exhausted), and a five day week with one day rest (not enough got done).  One day in 7 is about right.

Honour your father and mother

For most of us, that decade between when we were 16 and when we were 25 was the time when we knew the most in our lives.  Everything was an adventure; we knew all the answers and everyone else was just negative, trying to rain on our parade.  When something did happen, it struck out of the blue and could not have been predicted.

Now I understand that others have been there before me, and in many cases, can illustrate a clear line of cause and effect between what I'm planning and what will happen.  And I have learnt from this. I've been accused of being two years ahead in terms of seeing consequences and planning and choosing a different path, a path that manages or avoids risks and gives consistent, if a little boring, success.

I've learnt to honour my father and mother, my managers, my clients, my mentors, everyone older than me, everyone with a different experience, in fact everyone, since everyone is worthy of respect.  By so doing, I've learnt an enormous amount and I've avoided a lot of mistakes, instead of having to learn from each one.

The next 5 Commandments will follow in a few days