Utilize the Discovery Analysis to Ease Your Fear of Using a Consultant
Consultants can provide real value on many occasions but they can also be your worst nightmare. Some clichés include;
“A consultant will ask you for the time and then steal your watch.”
“Two things you don’t want to watch —– Sausage being made & a group of consultants trying to solve a problem.”
The Hanging-on Strategy —- Consultants can become your worst nightmare in many ways. Some consultants have perfected hanging-on and use it as a proactive growth strategy. When a project starts nearing its end, new problems seem to mysteriously get identified. It may start as a training issue; the training issue grows into a management issue, a technology issue, a channel issue. Each issue can turn into another consultant project or an extension of the original project. Before you know it your costs for the consultant’s advice and assistance becomes a major factor on the expense side of your profit and loss statement.
Unclear expectations——- Some consultants are so skilled at presentations and proposal writing that deliverables become very intangible and they are not measurable. If they are not measurable, accountability goes out the window. This alone can turn your consulting experience into a nightmare. The scope of the project may have a continuous creep that costs you more and more money. Deliverables should be clearly defined and documented. However, even if you have done your homework and feel you have clear expectations things can go wrong. HR
Employee involvement ——-Your risk of failure is exponentially higher if you have not involved your key employees in the decision making process of hiring a consultant. It is essential that you have employee buy in when you decide you need a consultant.
Accountability ———-Consultants like to say they can lead a horse to water but they can’t make them drink. In other words, consultants can’t execute the plan for the company. As a result, it is very difficult to hold consultants accountable for the results. Often times the consultants make a fantastic presentation and sell their firm based on expertise they don’t really possess. They are skilled at quick research and can be convincing in demonstrating their breadth of knowledge about your business based on this quick research. On many occasions the impressive partners of the firm may seal the deal and then send in a bunch of MBA kids to do the work. It’s a fantastic learning process for the MBA’s that you end up paying for.
Who is in control —— Hiring the wrong consultant can be dangerous, it can cost you sales, profits and even employees if you are not careful. Don’t turn your business over to a consultant. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they know your business better than you. There isn’t any consultant out there that knows your business better than you and your employees know your business. If you do hire a consultant, stay involved and manage the process.