As Machiavelli observed more than 500 years ago: "A prince who is not himself wise cannot be wisely advised... Good advice depends on the shrewdness of the prince who seeks it, and not the shrewdness of the prince on the good advice." In other words, you do not get to be an effective and intelligent client because the consultants and other advisers you work with make you one; rather, you use consultants well because you are already a good, `shrewd' client.
That is the heart of this book: to help clients take an intelligent approach to the use of consultants. Successful consulting depends on the quality of the client-consultant partnership. The trouble is that we are rarely clear about what `partnership' involves in practice. Is it an attitude of mind or something quite concrete, based on a contract that divides the risks and rewards of the work between both sides? Is it something that happens by osmosis, the product of the right chemistry between the individuals involved? Or does it require as much effort and conscious determination as any other aspect of managing a project? This book tries to answer those questions and many more about the nature of the successful client-consultant `partnership'.
It examines the issue from different perspectives, as well as looking at how this relationship varies across different European countries.