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    0 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2010 12:26 AM by onecoach

    How to Identify an Outstanding Consultant

    onecoach Wayfarer
      Often when businesses face a change in direction, they look to a business consulting company for help. Finding a consultant who can honestly deliver that help with knowledge, efficiency and integrity can be a challenge. If you think your business could benefit from the help of a consultant, here are some things to consider when interviewing potential candidates.

      First and foremost, a consultant must be able to listen. If a person can't take the time to listen to what you have to say, it is highly unlikely they will ever understand your needs and objectives well enough to help you. Unfortunately, there are consultants out there who talk the talk but fail to hear what others have to say.

      A management consultant should offer you a service, not a product. You are searching for help with problems within your business and you need someone who will work to solve those problems, meet the needs of the assignment, foster morale, or help plan new agendas. Be wary of someone who wants only to sell you this program, or that book, or this software. While all of these are great resources to have, a consultant must also provide guidance and teaching first.

      Be wary of a consultant who boasts that "I can turn your company around" or some such exclamation. A consultant's job is to empower your management and employees to implement change, make wise choices and design a plan to reach goals in the future. A wise consultant will help you to recognize how the company got to where it is and demonstrate how to make the right choices to accelerate improvement.

      Obviously you will want to work with a consultant who has had plenty of diversified experience. A big caveat here is to avoid the temptation to search out a consultant with experience only in your industry. In order to be truly effective a consultant must be able to offer a wide range of approaches to problem solving that can only come from having worked in many different situations.

      When your business is failing, the last thing you or your employees need is someone telling you what a mess you've made of things or point out all the wrong choices you've made. If a consultant starts out telling you things like, "Boy, have you been doing things the wrong way" or is very patronizing, saying things like, "Let me tell you how it should have been done," you should definitely end the interview then and there.

      Last but not least, a potential consultant will come to you with an open mind, waiting until all of your concerns and issues have been presented before offering any advice at all. If a consultant appears to arrive at your door with a readymade, cookie cutter, one size fits all attitude to improvement, that is not the consultant you want!


      Rachel Clarkson
      Rachel Clarkson helps small business owners to grow their companies, increase revenues and become great leaders. Rachel's articles can be found at the OneCoach blog: