How To Select A Consultant – The 3 Imperatives

As a manager lots of years ago when faced with my initially challenge of selecting an external consultant, I located myself all at sea. Luckily for me, I intuitively hit two of the 3 selection targets. The project was to produce a communication video, so it was comparatively effortless to see and examine what each consultant had previously made. I had a number of consultants to select from, but lastly chose the a single that I felt most comfortable with and whose perform impressed me most. The project was productive and in the course of action, I discovered a lot.

Given that that time, I have had to employ a quantity of consultants, I have been a consultant myself for virtually 20 years, and I have worked with lots of other consultancies both significant and smaller. The following ideas for selecting a consultant are primarily based on my practical experience as a manager and in the consultancy field.

What are the three targets that 1 must hit to effectively select a consultant? (Note I am using the term “consultant” to refer to either 1 particular person or a consultancy firm). Firstly and most obviously, the consultant should be able to essentially do the operate. Secondly, the consultant ought to be able to fit in with the men and women in your organisation and specifically those who will be functioning on this project. Lastly, if the consultant is very good, you ought to often enhance your personal know-how as a result of the project.

1. Can the consultant do the function? Appears obvious, but there are some traps. For instance, I bear in mind when starting out as a consultant in partnership with a further (who was also new to the part), submitting a tender for a pretty significant job and being selected in the final few for interview. Individually, we’d had some experience in the type of perform, but not as a partnership, nor had we worked in the prospective client’s business. We won the job. Why? The client saw in us some creativity and freshness that was not evident in our competitors. On the other hand, this was an uncommon client. Generally, I would not recommend taking on a consultant (like us) who has not had the depth nor breadth of experience in the project. So, unless one particular of your criteria is “freshness”, in terms of selecting for practical experience here are some ideas:

o What are your specifications? Be very clear on the outputs you will require in the project. These ought to constantly be measured in terms of top quality, quantity, time and cost. Use these output criteria to compare consultants.

o Who has advised this consultant? Verify their references – ask for the contact of the final job they did. When checking references, use your above “output criteria” as a guide.

o Are you hunting for an individual to implement solutions to a problem you have identified, or are you hunting for somebody to aid you identify and clarify the issue? Or both? At times it can be useful to split the project into these two components.

o In discussion with the potential consultants, do they truly give you the time to say what you want prior to jumping to conclsuons? If they seem to “have all the answers”, chances are they do not listen extremely properly.

o Does recommended solution appear to be particularly made for you or is it a “one particular size fits all”? Be wary if it is not specifically developed to meet your project criteria.

o Do they explain the issues they can’t do as well as those they can? This is constantly a great test of integrity, truefulness and reliability.

o Is their initial response to your request up to your excellent standards, sufficiently detailed (but not overly so) to make a choice, and inside your time expectations?

o Does the consultant have depth of expertise in the subject matter and breadth of knowledge in its application?

o Ask the consultant what is special about him or her? What makes them stand out from all the other consultants you may possibly pick?

two. Secondly, will the consultant match in with the individuals they will be functioning with? This is a essential implementation situation, as whilst they might be able to do the operate, if they can not function harmoniously with the men and women, the results will be less than optimal. For instance, we when worked on a big government project (total price range in excess of M$43) exactly where the client continually kept us at arm’s length (for instance, on a residential workshop, we had been not encouraged to consume or mix socially with the client project leaders). We met the output needs for the client, but had we been allowed to work much more closely with the client, they would have received a lot extra worth added service. In this case, the client ought to have chosen yet another consultant.

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