“The irony of consulting creates the opportunity for distinctive success.” My experience as both a provider and recipient of consulting services is that successful engagements are really difficult to achieve. The true success rate is less than most are willing to admit. As the same time, what business cannot benefit from the well designed and executed deployment of smart, focused, and innovative outsiders with no preconceived notions or axes to grind? That is the irony of consulting, as well as its challenge. What, then, are the keys to success? The first step is pinpointing and defining the problem or constraint, and, by extension, how eventual success should be defined and measured and by whom. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail (Maslow). Creative problem solving starts with a diverse tool kit that preempts solution bias. Content knowledge, methodology, and process are critical. But so also is the explicit recognition that success centers on people, and getting people to do what does not come naturally – which is to do differently than they’ve done before. Therein also lies the satisfaction: to learn, communicate, adjust, and catalyze the breadth and depth of change that makes a big difference in the health and wealth of client organizations.