Hiring an experienced professional to assist you in enhancing and growing your business can be a wise business decision. However, the belief of what a consultant can and does, and what they should do, varies wildly among business professionals.
Expect to do at least half of the work on the project. To begin, do the number crunching and gather all relevant material for your consultant. This saves everyone a lot of time, and you a lot of money. You should expect to contribute your expertise to the project. Your consultant will work collaboratively with you to isolate and remedy what ails your company. Look to your consultant for guidance, advice and expertise to improve your long-term capabilities. You know your company like no other, and are a valuable resource to the consultant.
Expect to need repetition and practice. You didn’t learn to tie your shoe in a day, and there are processes and practices that take time to understand and master. Having realistic expectations is critical. New projects need time and attention to take hold, grow, and ultimately, become productive. Don’t make the mistake of not following through; act on the recommendations immediately, and practice, practice, practice!
Don’t expect your consultant to swoop in and ‘fix’ everything. Although it may sound like a dream to you, the type of consultant that handles everything and leaves does you no favors. Once they leave, you still stuck with issues and worse, reports that go unread. Staff is confused, as they don’t know what to do, you aren’t sure what the steps to success are, and in short order, everyone doubts the wisdom of hiring an outside consultant. Remember to contribute and collaborate every step of the way.
The challenge to both the consultant and the company is in developing a collaborative relationship. Both parties need to be highly engaged and enthusiastic about seeing the project to completion.