How to pick the right consultant for your project

Let’s face it — every networking event you go, you happen to meet a ‘consultant’. It has become a buzz word in almost every industry.

Why do organisations hire a consultant?

Because he or she has a lot of experience and can look at the problem objectively and unemotionally, break down the complexities and offer a simple solution. The role of a consultant is to make a practical action plan for your company or project.

Sometimes you work so closely on your project or business that you can not see the patterns which are causing an obstruction or a simple tweak in the existing process can lead to many more customer acquisitions.

So, yes a consultant is required in every organisation or project, but how do you look for the right one is the key question.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose the right consultant: There are many consultants offering their services in market. However, you should be what kind of expertise you want. Choose a person who is experienced and has thorough understanding and knowledge of that particular field. He/She should not only have theoretical aptitude, but also practical know-how of the problems you are facing or may have to face in the future.
  2. Sit and discuss carefully: Having chosen the right consultant, it is important to sit down and explain what exactly do you want him/her to do. Be on the same page right from day one. What are your pain points?

Be aware, use foresight and never stop asking “why?”. The right questions will lead to right answers.

The first step when you start discussing is to identify the one issue that matters most — the critical issue.

To do this, you must frame the question properly. For instance, suppose a company is incurring high costs for overtime work. What is the correct question? Could it be, “How can we reduce overtime?” or maybe, “Do we have enough staff?” or perhaps, “Does our staff have the necessary skills to do the work in a timely manner?” or “Should we outsource the task and utilise the staff to address other problems?” Each question would elicit a different response. Clearly, though, it is necessary to answer the third question before considering the fourth or moving to the second or the first.

3. Engage from advise to execution

After getting the necessary advice, many companies usually think that the consultants work is over. But wait! think through every possible angel. You should try to involve the consultant in the application process and not just the brainstorming process. You don’t pay a hefty amount only for a ‘report’ do you? Utilise their insights and skills to the max. Let them be a part of the process to apply their ideas and get desired results.

Remember — the consultant has to be a part of your team throughout the duration of the project.

These tips can be applied to any project irrespective of the industry in which you operate in.

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