The decision to work with business consultants is one millions of businesses take, but there are several mistakes that are made over and over, leading to project failure, or perceived unsatisfactory results or service.
Finding consultants that meet your needs is of course a critical step in the process, as is managing the consultant you hire, but there are several other issues you, as the employer need to bear in mind too!
1. Bad Timing
If you do what many people and organizations do – hire a consultant at the last minute, when you’re already in crisis mode, and expect them to work miracles, you’re bound to be disappointed.
Even the very best consultants need a suitable time frame to do what they do best, and if you don’t give that to them, you are setting them up to fail! Rather plan ahead, hire or recruit a consultant in good time, and give them a reasonable timeframe in which to complete your project.
2. Expecting Perfection on Demand
Some managers and executives, when hiring consultants, expect perfection from day one. Bear in mind that the consultant’s job is to assess, analyze and develop a suitable solution to your problems. That solution may not immediately be clear, but if you provide enough direction, it should happen eventually.
Never assume that a consultant has failed because they did not achieve the result you wanted immediately. Remember, they need time to get to know your organization, as well as to formulate solutions based on your brief.
Allow them time to build up to the result you want, schedule regular progress meetings so you have hands on input, and don’t be afraid to change the plan along the way if the project’s success demands it!
3. Failing to Provide a Clear, Comprehensive Brief
You can hire the best consultant on earth, at the highest rate, but if you, as the employer, don’t provide clear, comprehensive instructions, and a well defined desirous outcome, you won’t get your money’s worth.
Even worse is to omit something from your brief, and then knowingly try to get the consultant to do the additional task anyway. Remember, consultants are running businesses too, and they base their rates and estimates on the information you provide – meaning if you don’t include something, neither do they!
4. Letting Politics Get in the Way
Every office has politics, but if you allow those internal machinations to affect your decision to hire a consultant, or worse, prompt you to find a consultant, you are heading for big trouble!
Consultants should only be brought in when necessary, and should not be used as pawns in personal agenda’s – you will be wasting your company’s money, and their time!
5. Promising Resources, and Then Not Delivering
If you’ve promised your chosen consultant resources, whether office space, staff to assist them or any other tool, and then you fail to deliver, you could be impacting negatively on the project timeline, and on the cost!
When recruiting consultants, and drawing up your brief for proposals, make sure you take all factors into consideration, and only promise those resources you really can provide.