12 Reasons Why You Need an External Consultant
There comes a point in every company that a problem pops up and the leadership team, owner, or operator goes “We need to hire help, go Google consultants”. Or more likely try to find their best friends, cousin’s son, that one time overheard that thing at a yard sale. Business advice can come from the strangest places. Twitter is probably not the best spot to find consulting advice from a trusted source.
A true external consultant, particularly of the management consultant breed is not someone that you offload busy work to. A true management consultant is there to bring years of experience to provide guidance, strategy, oversight, in solving large, complex department or organization-wide challenges.
In no particular order here are X reasons why a company like yours brings in a consultant.
1. Accelerate the Learning Curve
When you have a business problem that has caused operations, growth, or innovation to slow down the right consultant can accelerate your team’s ability to identify the root causes of the problems significantly faster. In business, speed is what matters. The old, overused saying is “Time is Money” and the longer you avoid a critical problem in your business the more money it is costing your business, and the more money you are leaving on the table.
If you generally know the area of your business that is stuck but unsure of next steps, the right consulting can help grease the wheels.
2. Rise above the Corporate Politics
A gigantic issue that grinds things to a standstill is corporate politics. Inevitably as your team grows, internal clicks will form. There will be power struggles, staff with aggressive personalities may make power plays, or organizations lose focus over time.
A great consultant can quickly get the lay of the land of leadership and team dynamics. A great consultant is focused on mission-driven, value-based outcomes. A great consultant will not get bogged down into corporate politics or infighting but can engage the leadership team to break the log jams as an impartial outsider.
A consultant that gets sucked into corporate politics and cannot tell truth to power will not be effective and probably get blamed for the organizations situation they were brought in to solve.
3. Expert Advisor
Its one thing to seek advice from family and relatives. It’s a whole other story to seek out advice from random people on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit threads, or Instagram stories.
Good strategic consultants have been in the trenches for years. You want someone that can help you level up your game.
You want to stay away from the 20-year-old life coaches. They haven’t lived enough. But a 20-year-old business consultant that has managed 7 figures early in life. That’s a different story and valuable lessons to be learned.
Great consultants have the experience. Not a random person you met at a yard sale that you didn’t vet.
4. Industry Best Practices
In addition to experience, great consultants will probably have industry leading certifications or credentials indicating training in best practices. This does not mean that they are a slave to the standard but use it as a framework to build out the creative solution you are in desperate need of.
5. Execution Oversight
You’ve worked with a consultant, identified the problem, gathered the data, and created the plan. Its time for corrective action. Your consultant has the expertise to help with your projects oversight. They will be most adept at keeping cost in control while never losing sight of the end goal.
6. Agent of Change
A management consultant is an agent of change. There are gaps in your company that need to be identified and filled. Recommending new advice is the literal definition of a consultancy.
There is nothing more challenging to a management consultant than seeing an organization asking for new solutions be afraid to make the changes necessary.
7. A Nice View of the Forest
A leading cause of stagnation in an organization is getting lost in the forest. Your leadership or team is so busy firefighting the daily battles that its path becomes quickly lost on the direction you should be heading. A really good management consultant has the distinct advantage of coming in with a fresh perspective and re-orient an entire company, department, or project back onto the desired path.
8. Navigate the Decision-Making Progress
Its your company. You still have to make the final decision, but a consultant can help guide you through the options. A decision left unmade is the biggest downfall of progress and change. An experienced consultant will help you prioritize your objectives and narrow down the decision to ones best suited for success. The final decision still rests with your or your leadership team when all of the chips are on the table, but a good consultant can help your team reach a consensus.
9. Pattern Recognizer
Pattern recognition has become a lost art. We live in an age of things being explicit or it doesn’t apply to the situation. That cannot be further from the truth. A great consultant can apply lessons learned from other organizations to your situation. Patterns of behavior are not as unique as you think. Success and failure both leave similar types of clues and consultant knows how to recognize those clues from an objective perspective.
10. Industry Connections
Advisory consultants will have a good contact list of industry experts to help with execution or to call upon with implementation of a new solution.
A good example of this is the cyber security industry. A technology or cyber consultant can assist your organization with evaluating your security posture and technological deficiencies. But once a solution is identified, the consultant is NOT the provider of the solution. They are agnostic to the vendor and find the best match within their network to seek for proposal.
The consultant may project manage the implementation.
11. Long-Term Advisor or Get in/Get out
Hiring a business consultant does not need to be a lifelong commitment. You as an owner do not need to look for a perfect marriage. You can bring in a business consultant solve the pressing issue and the both of you can be on your separate way.
On the flip side a management consultant that has demonstrated knowledge, experience, and returned value may be worth sticking around for longer stint. Being able to bounce off new plans or ideas to a professional that is not ingrained in the day to day may be worth it.
12. A Reminder of What You Already Know
I attribute this saying to Alex Hormozi, “You need to be reminded more than you need to be taught.” Do you have a successful business that has gotten stuck? Its not that you don’t have a clue on how to proceed, its just that you may have forgotten some things along your journey and a outside consultant can brings those to top of mind again and assist with validating the decision.
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