When do I need to call a consultant?
For a CEO, Vice President or any senior manager, this is an age-old question. Since every company is structured differently, one really must ask three questions to be sure the cost of a consultant will maximize productivity.
Many senior level leaders are convinced that this is a luxury. Shouldn`t those in management positions be charged with strategy, design, development, training and implementation? Isn`t that what their job entails? Why would senior management incur more cost to do the work others were already hired to do?
Let`s look at three questions they might ask to help them make this decision.
Does the consultant have more skill, experience or talent than our best performer?
In many companies managers have risen through the ranks. It is a significant part of the culture that if successful, you move up into a supervisory role. While the benefits of that process can be debated at another time, it is currently a fact. The new manager is most likely proficient in one or two attributes; few excel at many. So, the question remains, “Would adding a consultant to the team be of value? Will the new manager learn and become skilled by working closely with an expert in another field? Will the department increase productivity/revenue commensurate with the consultants cost?”
Will completing the task under consideration change the focus of our best manager?
The second area to reflect on is the role and responsibility of the manager. One should consider the expectations of the position. Will the new assignment if handled by the manager take his eye off the ball? Will the task require that he spend time learning a skill already possessed by the consultant? For example, let`s assume that a sales manager is charged with increasing productivity of the sales force by one-on-one coaching and client development. Will adding sales training to his responsibility be a questionable decision? How much time away from the field will it take to become proficient at a new sales program, let alone become talented as a powerful trainer? Will it change his focus as a manager? Would a better decision be to hire a consultant to handle the sales training?
Would our company benefit from a new perspective?
For many successful companies the sales force has been a loyal and long- standing team. The sales people have been successfully servicing devoted customers for years. High revenue producers have been promoted to sales managers and subsequently managers have moved into regional and even corporate positions. Is it a possibility that the programs have become stale, the systems tiresome and the goals a bit soft? Perhaps a new perspective is in order.
Should the answer to any of these questions be a “Yes”, a talented consultant experienced in your field may be the most compelling solution.