Created on October 6, 2017

King Midas of Phrygia in the city of Gordium tied an impossible knot to an ox cart. It was prophesied that whoever could undo the knot was destined to become ruler of all Asia. In the 4th century BCE, Alexander the Great arrived at Phrygia. He wanted to untie the knot but could not find an end of the rope. So, he simply drew his sword and sliced it in half with a single stroke.

The story resonates very well with the role of a consultant, i.e. how to resolve a seemingly impossible problem with a swift, unconventional stroke. Especially as process safety and risk management consultant, because the problem usually is so intertwined we may as well see it like a Gordian Knot. The consultant will enter the problematic area, learn it enough, and make realistic recommendations. Hiring a consultant provides the client fresh pairs of eyes to solve the problem.

It is important to note, the success of the project will depend on the client’s way of thinking and cooperation. It is not often that we hear phrases like “we’ve always done it that way and it’s never been a problem.” The people saying it probably have motives and agendas of their own. The consultant must be able to communicate the findings of all analysis to all stakeholders. However, it should be noted that a consultant is not a decision-maker, it is ultimately the client’s job.

Best Regards,
Erick Saul, ST, CFSP

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