“The architect refuses to design the big, ugly building that merely maximizes short term revenue. She understands that raising the average is part of her job…”
As someone who’s done basically nothing but consulting my entire career, I see being willing to say “no” as an essential trait both for myself as an individual professional and for any company I would want to work for. There *is* “bad work”, and while that comes in many flavors, perhaps the worst is work that the client will happily pay for — but which won’t actually give them the value they think it will. If you can’t convince ’em of the right path, it’s time to politely wish them luck and part ways.
This shouldn’t be confused with delusions of omniscience: any client is going to know at least some aspects of their business better than I; wisdom comes from distinguishing those, where their judgement should be deferred to, from the clear and repeatable patterns of challenges (and solutions) we see in our areas of expertise that they may not be aware of.