Is “Consultant” a Dirty Word?

Is “Consultant” a Dirty Word?


In the mid 80s, I managed a Rolodex of about 500 clerical temps who labored at $5 to $7 an hour for Boston’s mega corporations. Each weekday morning, in a flurry of highly orchestrated phone and front office activity, I placed anywhere from 50 to 200 of these people in short- to long-term jobs.

Each placement’s mission was to work hard, smart and effectively. To get it done!

Mobile, Global, Digital

Now, I help businesses, mega to mini, government agencies, and not-for-profits connect with one or more of the top Operational Excellence (OpEx), Business Process Re-engineering/Improvement (BPRI), Change Management and Lean practitioners in the world. Most of them have the word “consultant” in their title.

When they are placed on contract, their mission is to work hard, smart and effectively. To get it done!

Trailblazing and Building

My 500 clerical balls of fire could most definitely tell their on-site supervisors how to improve processes. Then they did the work to make those improvements.

My 10,000-plus MetaExpert power trains most definitely identify opportunities for improvement (and areas of inefficiency and ineffectiveness) and communicate them to their Managers and CEOs. Then they do the work to make those improvements.

If my clerical wonders had simply pointed out problems and opportunities, then left it to others to do the work to fix and facilitate, they’d be at my desk before lunch looking for another placement, and not getting one.

If my MetaExpert heavy-hitters simply pointed out problems and opportunities, then left it to others to do the work to fix and facilitate, they’d be called consultants, not MetaExperts.

Every Project Worth Doing, Needs DOING

Every business initiative is in some way under-somethinged. Under-funded, under-designed, under-peopled. Executives, directors, managers and supervisors typically needed it done yesterday, effectively, under budget and ahead of schedule. They know problems and opportunity exist, and they want them solved and seized respectively.

What they don’t want is someone simply telling them what the problems and opportunities are. That’s what they’ve come to expect consultants to do.


The leading online thesaurus identifies consultants as everything from masters to buttinskis, but few of the terms imply they involve the rolling up of sleeves and getting it done!

Shortly after I left the morning chaos of temporary clerical placement behind, I became a consultant. For 27 years, I identified problems, designed solutions, and deployed tactics and tools that delivered opportunity. I worked every project shoulder-to-shoulder with my team and my clients’ teams. I got it done!

I’m proud to have been a consultant. I’m proud to be working with 10,000 consultants. They get it done. They’re called MetaExperts.

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