I did a blog interview for the Chicago Booth Corporate Strategy and Management Group (student-run organization for part-time and evening program). The interview (link here) covers areas such as typical week in the life of an independent consultant, common problems currently facing clients, and the most helpful MBA training I received at Chicago.
Aside from the fund raising item I mentioned in the interview section on current client issues, I also shared the following (which characterizes one current client philosophy on approaching prospective consulting projects):
... The other theme I have been seeing more of is in the operational process improvement area. The themes here, however, have not been so much around improving profits as they have been about weathering the economic storm and making improvements that increase either customer satisfaction or quality of services and products. Clients, on the balance, are more conservative right now. Whereas the smart executives and managers may have been going for broke before and taking bigger chances, they now see making continuous improvements as a must-do (not necessarily demonstrating immediate margin or revenue improvement until after the storm lifts). As additional light, some executives are missing their revenue numbers in the current (bad) market climate, but they are making their net profit numbers. These companies are using the stable net profits as their bulletproof vest with their Boards while using consultants in very targeted ways or in controlled “entrepreneurial experiments” to help build for the future.
As an independent consultant, I increasingly need to use my network to read the market (as opposed to having information flow to me from "The Firm". Don't know whether others are seeing similar things or not. Please feel free to share your thoughts.