A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible. –Simon Sinek
Merriman Webster Definition: Simple Definition of consultant. : a person who gives professional advice or services to companies for a fee. : a hospital doctor of the highest rank who is an expert in a particular area of medicine.
Employing consultants can be a mixed blessing, until you examine the reasons in detail and on a case by case basis. In an increasingly automated and competitive world, the cliché “the only constant is change” has never been more accurate. Operation costs are high and keeping pace with the morphing technology, leveraging it to justify the investment made, while increasing revenue, is a significant challenge.
Choosing a consultant over an employee is not a slight. Any business owner can incur incredible costs whenever they employ people; an easy oversight to be made and the gravity of the expense inversely proportional to the size of the business. Taking on a new hire has several steps all of which require time and resources, from identifying the necessary skills through advertising, recruiting, resume reviews, interviewing, medical screening to training, providing IT, office space, work place integration, benefits from free coffee and snacks to dental, health and gym memberships, Oh and last but not least, salary! The only thing more costly than a good hire is a bad hire! I have heard it be said that a business should “hire slow and fire fast.”
A consultant is a good option when an outside perspective is required; being too close to an issue to see it is a reality. In our accelerated lives, critical analysis of methodologies can be overlooked, leading employees to acclimate to a sub optimal situation; continuing the status quo, making the best of it, rather than investing time and resources in the short term to improve the situation in the long term. This is potentially detrimental to good business practices and increasing revenue. Consultants have an objective view, typically an extensive breadth of experience in similar or diverse sectors and are not swayed by a company’s culture or the emotional responses to changes that can disrupt the “norms”.
I have also heard that “some Consultants come in to the business ask to use your watch and then tell you the time!”
There are occasions when consultants are reinforcements for a company’s own workforce. Temporary yet highly skilled reinforcements. New ideas can yield specific projects that may not justify hiring a new employee; a consultant or two can save time and money in the long term by taking the lead on the project from a current employee who already has a full work load, ensuring the project is completed on time, on budget and within scope! Consultants can also offer training to younger motivated employees who then learn from the experience.
It would be a charming, albeit naïve, notion to conclude that a business could identify the full range of required skills in their employees. That is frequently not the reality. Nor should it be. Some skills are a necessity for the short term and the benefit of engaging a good consultant, a subject matter expert, is that they bring that knowledge, make changes and where feasible transfer the knowledge to an employee to ensure the company becomes self-sustaining, allowing the benefits to continue long after the consultant has departed for fresh contracts. Training and skill set augmentation are indicators of quality consultants.
Consultants can be the conduit between the C suite and the rest of the employees, being the change agent and diffusing any potential dissent when the more difficult decisions, for example, redundancies, need to be made! Consultants can move the dial faster than an internal resource “the voice of the expert” and move the desired change on.
When you are considering hiring a consultant, don’t be seduced by the need to engage with the “big boys” over a smaller consultancy boutique. A high price tag for services does not necessarily align to quality. Huge companies, huge overheads; a boutique can provide a personal service with experienced consultants who know that success comes from the deliverables to their clients and who are aware they are only as good as their last performance, and thus cannot afford to offer less than the best service and care for you.
Consultants at netlogx thrive in the challenge a new opportunity/environment presents and love to leave an organization empowered to derive ongoing value from both the change and the methodologies netlogx brought to the table. Transition is an integral phase of a netlogx project and is managed from the beginning to ensure we leave organizations ready to take on their next challenge calling us back when they hit a new peak!