Many roles in business today are advisory or consultant roles. Even if your professional title isn’t consultant, and even if you have a fixed position at a company, your job may still involve a fair bit of consulting, within the company or to your clients. Most consultants pride themselves, and rightly so, in being able to do excellent work for their clients, but few ever question whether they are at all the right match for the client until it is too late.

Matching yourself with a client doesn’t just mean that you and the client needs to “get along” well, rather, it means that you need to thoroughly believe in the client in order to do a good job. Motivation rarely comes at our command and truly faking it is hard, if not impossible. For this reason, it makes sense not to be taking projects that you don’t believe in.

Additionally, as a consultant you have a professional obligation to give good advice. That obligation should include the simple fact that you don’t believe in the product, if that is the case. Working with a client, in whom you do not believe is doing both you and the client a disservice.

Against this, you might argue that there will be plenty of other people ready to take up the project if you do not. This is, fortunately, most often true. However, even if their reasons for taking the project are for the same reason you stepped away, you have done your best for the client. You have given your good advice and as part of that, realized that you were not a good match.

Hopefully, the client finds someone who does believe in their product, but even if they do not, it is important to remember that you at least, did your job well. This is far better than taking the project and undoubtedly, ending up with a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s face it, most projects that you do not believe in rarely ends up being the most enjoyable, nor the most profitable. Basically, a mismatch between client and consultant never benefits anyone.

Money may be tight and this might seem economically unwise, but the reality is the contrary. Projects that go bad tend to eat up your time and thus resources more than you typically think. Locking yourself in a project which you do not believe in will not help your reputation, nor your bottom line. By working on them, you instead reduce the time in which you could be working on more profitable projects.

To sum up, for the good of your reputation as a professional, walking away from projects should be something that you do regularly as a consultant. Whether you do not believe in the product the client brings to the table, or simply do not get along with the client does not matter. The important thing is that you do your professional duty and realize that this one is not for you.

Happy New Year 2014!

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There is something quite liberating about a new year. As we all start trying out new routines and trying to make our new years resolutions work, I want to take a moment and wish you all a very Happy New Year. May it be filled with joy and happiness.

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This Tuesday I was up in Stockholm for Adobe Nordic’s fantastic Creative Day: A full day filled with inspirational talks from excellent creatives. If you didn’t get to go, you are in luck, all of the sessions are available for free on the web.

Big props to Mariah and Johan (with staff) for putting on this excellent show. Always good to get to catch up with friends you only see one every year or so, like Jason, Paul and Tommi. Hope it will be less than a year until next time!

Once in a while debates tend to blame events on the internet. It may be convenient to blame the internet for riots and more but the convenience is worth nothing when it is just a smoke screen.

In general it is dangerous to blame any medium directly, yet everywhere this is very common. The danger lies in the fact that it is hardly the medium that is at fault here. Looking in a bigger perspective, we have to acknowledge that the problems in question existed before too.

Clearly, many of the problems being blamed on the internet were problems before the internet and will arguably be problems after the internet (should that happen). There is however no doubt that the internet is an accelerator in the same way that the printing press was back in the day.

It is crucial that we stop and ask ourselves though if a certain problem is just being highlighted or accelerated through a medium, or whether the medium is at fault. In the former case, focusing on the actual problem at hand is the only way a solution could ever be found.

Let us stop and think what we are blaming before find an easy scapegoat. Just because there is something to blame doesn’t mean it is right and if it turns out to be wrong (as blaming a medium almost certainly always will be) the costs (not just monetary) of repairing it will be much higher.

In no field or industry can you get by without constantly having to keep yourself updated. Arguably, there is no better way to success than learning new things and upping the ante in knowledge.

For some, the process of learning new things has to be formalized in the form of a course with an exam in the end. Such a viewpoint shows a lack of faith in learning and in the need for constant learning, throughout ones professional and personal life. Clearly, learning does not have to be formalized, but it needs to take place.

Reading is one of the best ways of staying up to date. Which format depends slightly on your industry. Everyone ought to be reading the online sites relevant to their field but relevant magazines and books are not to be forgotten and left out. By reading what other people think you expand your own views, learn something new and become more well-rounded in your skill set.

Clearly, the only loser when it comes to learning, is the person why refuses and doesn’t see the benefit. Refusing to stay updated only means one thing: You get to sit by and watch other people fly past you quicker than you would ever think. Reading on the other hand, gives you the upper hand over many others. Which way would you like it?