Buying Advice

Why hire a Management Consultant?

The answers to this are many and diverse. The first question that needs to be answered, what is a Management Consultant?

A Management Consultant is an external-to-organization, independent, experienced, and highly educated, or experienced resource. This resource is adept at analysis, problem definition, problem solving, making recommendations, and implementing recommendations.

Another thing a management consultant should be is someone who is always focused on delivering a return-on-investment (directly related to their services) – checking boxes and producing paper should never be the end goals once the project is completed. Something consultants should not be is a voice coming from up high to make binding recommendations that cause stress and pain within an organization; it is this simple, Management Consultants should be doing their job with an organization – not to it.

Back to the original question, why hire a management consultant? Here are some key areas where a management consultant would have provided significant value:

Organization knows the end goal but cannot see the path to get there – often this comes in the form of a project to solve a problem not having a believable end date, the goal is clear but the organization will never get there because it is struggling with how.

Organization does not have the functional expertise in-house – this can come in many forms including analytical and problem solving or expertise in a particular discipline that is key to solving the problem such as IT.

Organization does not have the resources – as important as an initiative may be or as crippling the problem, organization can find themselves without the cycle to properly address the situation.

Objective third party is needed – this can come when organization has become subjectively focused and needs to pull back to an objective place

When an independent voice is necessary – To protect the organization and enhance its chances for success, an independent voice can be required. Proper accountability requires the audit firm to be independent and often the need to seek a legal opinion. An impartial and expert opinion by a consultant provides a “due-diligence” perspective that staff, or management, cannot supply.

When Organizations need to bring people together – there are two parties that cannot develop consensus on their own.

Organization needs it quickly – this comes in the form of end dates manageable through organic resources not meeting requirement. Management consultants, because they are singularly focused, can deliver the end goal in a much shorter time frame.

A fresh set of eyes is needed – many organizations have been doing things the same way for so long that it becomes second nature, perhaps doing things the same way and not looking at things the way the problem requires is the problem. This is the classic “can’t see the forest for the trees” situation.

Scope is much bigger than required – organization can sometimes take on a monolithic approach to solving the problem, making to “trying to boil the ocean” when typically what is required is what Bob Schaeffer would call a “breakthrough strategy” get to the heart of the issue, define a tightly scoped solution, and measure the results.

To deliver a message that can’t come from the inside – sometimes an organization knows exactly where it needs to go and how to get there but does not have the political will to make it happen. Bringing in an influential management consultant can tip the scales and give the initiative the momentum it needs.

Empowering staff – management consultants can provide the framework and process to allow organizations staff to become even more involved in shaping the solution. Enabling internal staff to fully participate in a process such as strategic planning or in the regulatory approval process, but without one of them having to wear a facilitator’s or coordinator’s hat in addition to their current responsibilities.