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A very thoughtful, enlightening post. I have found myself in positions like this, although not in IT consulting. This helps me to be more observant and really take a deeper look at what I am being asked to do, before accepting. A client (spelled: t r o u b l e) like this is just looking to make the consultant be the bad guy and neatly extricate themselves with: "Well, the consultant said...". If one can learn prior to accepting the commission whether there actually is an indecision that needs outside perspective or that their mind really is already made up and they want a scapegoat, it will go a long way in keeping one's reputation and peace of mind intact.