The idea that you think you might need a consultant is the first indicator. You are looking at a problem or opportunity and are concerned you do not have the skillset in your organization to get the right answer. Let me preface the difference in what I see as a consultant or subject matter expert versus an organizational consultant such as McKinsey. For me personally, I have great depth in Market studies, operational and financial planning, and am very upfront on what the deliverables will be.
Engaging a consultant offers many benefits.
- You know exactly what or whom you are hiring.
- There is a defined deliverable.
- Consultants can ask questions and stretch your organization where an internal employee cannot. More clearly, a consultant can question the COO, CFO, or CEO without potential ramifications. Employees can rarely openly challenge the Boss!
- You can easily fire a consultant. It happens often, rarely resulting in litigation.
In summary, Consultants can ask the questions most employees are afraid to ask, and can cut through organizational silos and give a more objective solution. Just remember, you might have to own up to what and where the issues are.