One of the ideas behind hiring consultants is that they bring experience and expertise into your organization and help guide you to where you need to go. Many times, however, we end up using consultants to verify what we already know, but cannot get others within the organization to trust in our decisions. Sometimes we come out of meeting with consultants and tell each other things like “see, we’re not that far off.”
Of course consultants also give us a view of ourselves without the veil of our internal biases. Sometimes it is good to hear someone ask us “why are you doing that?” If the answer is “because we’ve always done it that way” then it gives us a chance to either justify our processes, or be made aware of the bad processes so that they can either be changed or eliminated.
Consultants can also be a wall that we can throw spaghetti at and see what sticks. Sometimes the consultants are the ‘spaghetti throwers’ by making suggestions that we may not have thought of on our own. It is this quality that exposes the previous experience and expertise that we want our consultants to bring to the table. Many times the spaghetti slides off of the wall, but sometimes it sticks and gives us a fresh approach on how to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.
I had mentioned in my projections for 2010 that this would be a great year to be a consultant. Because so many of us need to make changes (sometimes make dramatic changes) to how we conduct business in a recovering economy, having a consultant come in and vet our approach to achieving our goals may be money well spent.