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Your Secret Weapon

How to get the most out of your consultant


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Straight Talk Series — Book No. 1
The publishing of this book, the first in the Straight Talk Series, was truly a special occasion. Not only did it make consultants everywhere squirm in their seats, as the curtain was pulled back on their industry for the first time from the inside, but it injected a whole new perspective into the client-consultant relationship.

Here's an excerpt:

 When Not to Hire a Consultant 
If you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there. You know when you need a consultant. Objectivity. Fresh ideas. Skills and experience you don't have. At the right time and for the right reasons, a consultant's contributions can be invaluable. But too often, consultants are brought in at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. So, before you bring in a consultant, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Do we know where we are headed? There are times when major consulting projects are kicked off with only a vague sense of their intended destination. Or, when they are doggedly continued long after the original destination no longer applies - and well before a new destination has been determined. Bring consultants in to help figure out where you need to go. But don't ask them to take you there before you've figured out just where there is.
  2. Should our own people be doing the job? This seems obvious, but it's amazing how often consultants are asked to do things clients are perfectly capable of doing on their own. Clients have plenty of reasons:
    • It's easier to get money for consultants than for headcount.
    • My people don't have time.
    • It's easier to go outside than find the resources inside.
    • It's how we've always gotten things done.
    • If your own people can do the job, you're better off having them do it.
  3. Did consultants fail the last three times we brought them in on a project? Consultants will only be as good as your organization will allow them to be. If it never seems to work out with consultants, it might be that the root causes are a little closer to home. Best to figure those out and make changes before taking the plunge again.

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