Consultants have often gotten a bad rap — and in some cases not undeservingly.
While there are many great consultants out there, the landscape is also riddled with consultants whose primary aim is to rack up as many billable hours as possible. As a result, they are less motivated to help you overcome obstacles and solve problems than they are to prolong their engagement and increase their billable time.
As a consultant for some of the leading ministries in America, I thought I would offer a few words in this blog to help you make the right decision next time you are looking for a consultant. First, here are a few reasons why working with a consultant is a worthy consideration:
- Consultants can be knowledgeable. It has been said that a smart man is one who learns from his mistakes … while a wise man is someone who hires a smart man to avoid making mistakes altogether. A consultant often brings a depth of experience and outside perspective that can help you avoid making costly mistakes and take you to a new level.
- Consultants can be valuable. Dollar for dollar a good consultant can be the most effective way to address issues, overcome obstacles, or solve problems. They provide transformational insights and solutions, and your organization avoids adding long-term staff or making expensive errors.
- Consultants can provide solutions. A good consultant is focused on helping you solve problems. One of my first clients challenged me to study his organization like I was his enemy — find all his weaknesses — then help him fix them. I spent a year on the project. By the end of the engagement, we had fixed several critical issues, re-focused the organization, and more than doubled the organization’s income.
The old adage says caveat emptor, meaning buyer beware… This recognizes that the seller may be aware of issues they are not fully revealing to the buyer. When looking for the right consultant for your business or organization, here are five things you need to look for in order to make the best decision:
- Look for a consultant that has a track record of solving problems. I am aware of more consultants who perpetuate problems than those who try to solve them. Often solutions to complex problems require a combination of internal and external adjustments. This can take time. However, finding solutions must always be the focus. Your consultant should have a history of excellence in problem-solving.
- Look for a consultant who takes time to learn about your organization. Every business and every organization is different. While there may be operational similarities, there are often cultural or historical differences that factor into the equation. A good consultant takes time to listen first before offering their opinion or proposing a solution. Beware the consultant that walks in the door with all the answers.
- Look for a consultant who has an experienced team. A consultant is only as good as their team. Look for a team that has a broad cross-section of experience with different types of organizations. Typically, consulting experience from businesses and organizations that are different than yours can provide fresh insight to the issues you may be facing. Also, look for a team that is passionate about helping their clients. This is the team that will work extra hard for you.
- Look for a consultant who has a reasonable cost structure. One of the key reasons to hire a consultant is to avoid adding staff or making costly mistakes. Your consultant should provide an affordable alternative. Good consultants are not inexpensive, but they can provide great value. Do not hire a consultant just because they appear to offer the cheapest price. Ineffective problem-solving can lead to much greater costs in the long run.
- Look for a consultant you are willing to listen to. A consultant is valuable to you only to the degree to which you are willing to follow their counsel. I am not suggesting blind faith — but I am suggesting that there needs to be a conscious decision to be willing to make the changes necessary. It is surprising how often change is discussed but never implemented. When you take the time to find the right consultant — one who is solution oriented — one who takes the time to understand you and your organization — one who has the experienced team to truly be your strategic partner — and one whose fees are right for you — it only makes sense that you are willing to follow their counsel — even if at first it may be uncomfortable or inconvenient.
If you follow these simple guidelines, I am confident you will find the right consultant to help you face your challenges head on and propel your business or organization to the next level.
Let Infinity Concepts help you effectively reach your objectives and meet your goals. Let’s talk today!