The consulting landscape is such that a consultant’s primary goal is to provide guidance and utility to the client, so that the client’s overall end state is better than the original beginning state. In the consulting landscape, the client continues to employ the consultant as long as the consultant provides value in some capacity and in alignment with reasonable fees charged by the consultant.
The consultant perhaps provides additional intellectual capital, physical labor or business intelligence to supplement the client’s current limited resources. The consulting paradox occurs when the consultant becomes such a trusted advisor that the client begins to treat the consultant as if they were an employee of the organization. Given this, there is a tendency for the client to become more casual with the consultant, thus prompting similar casual interactions from the consultant. The irony of the situation is that the consultant may eventually lose the very objectivity and formality which made the consultant valued in the first place by the client.