Many organisations find that consultants fail to deliver what was expected, and yet, many consultants experience a sense of sheer frustration because of scope creep or lack of clarity because expected outcomes have not been clearly defined. Consultants thrive on their reputation
So, before you consider hiring a consultant, consider these Top Tips for Choosing and Using External Consultants to ensure you work well together:
Top Tips for Choosing and Using External Consultants
- Tip One: Define what you want to achieve. Identify measures of success. How will your organisation benefit from the consultants expertise in measurable terms?
- Tip Two: Avoid the quick fix, like plasters they are a temporary solution. Identify realistic time-scales and avoid short cuts Break “problem identification” and “solution implementation” into separate phases.
- Tip Three: Assess organisational readiness. Take a global view and consider integration with ongoing projects in your organisation. Identify barriers and resistance to implementation – be realistic, consultants are not magicians!
- Tip Four: Ensure that the consultant is the right fit for your environment. Request proposals and explore what the consultants experience is in working with organisations and projects of a similar nature. Ensure all your concerns are addressed. If you find the right expertise and the wrong fit for your culture consider alternative approaches.
- Tip Five: Clarify deliverables ask the consultant to describe tangible examples of deliverables and ensure they are specific in the contract.
- Tip Six: Always contract with the consultant. Clear, explicit and agreed contracts can help to avoid misunderstandings and legal proceedings. Ask the consultant to provide a risk assessment before contracting, they have a wealth of experience and can often identify the dangers you have failed to consider.
- Tip Seven: Ensure access to essential documents in a language that the consultant can understand. Consider all confidentiality issues surrounding the project and if necessary ensure the consultant signs a confidentiality agreement
- Tip Eight: Ensure internal roles are clear, consultants do not work in isolation, they need support, and access to suitably influential internal staff is essential to executing the project. Free up the time of staff associated with the project prior to commencement.
- Tip Nine: Avoid the dangers of “Scope Creep”! This can occur when the project parameters are unclear, as a result of the impact of an unforeseen event, and occasionally dishonesty on behalf of the consultant who enhances the job in the hope of additional work. . Be prepared to postpone, re-negotiate the project until you can get it back on track.
- Tip Ten: Ensure regular and 2-way feedback, to resolve issues as soon as they arise. Ensure the consultant does not save any nasty surprises for the final report, and ask for any contentious/confidential issues to be written into a private letter if necessary
- Tip Eleven: Develop internal expertise – identify and assign individuals to work alongside the consultant encourage them to be curious and learn from the consultants methodology, approach, behavioural techniques.
- Tip Twelve: An efficient consultant does not want to encourage dependency and will be keen to discuss transfer of initiatives for the benefit of your business, change can be exciting and uncomfortable – be sure to engage in those conversations and identify implementation strategies that will fast forward your change initiatives. Ask Questions to determine the extent to which the consultant wants to work WITH you and not FOR you, there is a vast difference between these two approaches, however YOU need also need to assess your readiness to work successfully WITH that consultant.
Internal Consultants do you need to demonstrate measurable value to the business from learning and development activities? Take a look at the objectives below these outcomes are all achievable when you join our Performance Consulting Training Course
- To demonstrate that you can operate successfully within a 7 step consulting framework
- To provide a structure for identifying performance gaps
- To influence line manager perception that “training is the solution”.
- To develop consulting competencies required to identify measurable training outcomes
- To link learning solutions to business performance
- To provide development solutions that address performance gaps
- To enable constructive conversations with purchasers of training and gain their respect as a trusted client adviser
- To understand why order takers loose respect of corporate training purchasers. To become more than an order taker
- To be aware of, and, avoid the critical mistakes that many training professionals make that consistently lose them business from training managers
- To identify evaluation criteria and recognise the return on investment calculations that your clients perform for training courses
- To demonstrate to clients who engage your services that these services will deliver more benefit to the business than they cost.
- To utilise the SPIN model to during the proposal stage to demonstrate measurable development solutions that address business issues
- To enable you to provide consultants and learning designers who operate on your behalf with clarity of information to enable them to build strategic solutions