If you own a business of any size there will come a time when you will need some advice. Perhaps you have a simple question or a complex issue. Either way you clearly know that it is not wise to go-it-alone. While there are a multitude of reasons you might need the service of a consultant, I wanted to highlight three key reasons you need a consultant.
First, there is a fresh new perspective to the problems you face. If you believe you know the answer then, by-all-means, go for it. Recently I received a request to quote on a project for a potential client. The client began to tell me what they thought the problem was and how they wanted it fixed. I asked them the tell-tale question “what if that isn’t really the problem?” They were adamant that the problem was the problem and that if I wanted the business I needed to quote the job as they requested. I softly pushed back and told them that I could not engage a project where I was given a predetermined problem and a predetermined solution without at least testing their hypothesis. While it is not a bad thing to think you might know where the problem is, it is not good to assume that there might not be more to the issue that you are able to see. This is why you need a fresh perspective. I’ve seen clients like the one described here. They will burn through thousands of dollars and numerous consultants, looking for the one that will prove them right. But, what if they are wrong? The business won’t grow, change, and improve without the humbleness to realize an outside perspective is not a bad thing.
Second, a consultant brings insight. I have over 24 years of leadership and business experience in an array of industry silos and business structures. I have two other colleagues I work with that equally have the same amount of experience. A consultant’s insight is not just from their work background but is built on every consultant assignment they have completed. In my case, I have literally thousands of client hours in experience. Because I have a fresh perspective, I am able to offer new ideas and insight toward the appropriate solution. As a leader, I want – No, I need to surround myself with people who have insight. I never want to be the smartest person in the room when I am trying to come up with solutions. Insight is a powerful tool when used.
Finally, a consultant helps you develop alternative solutions. Considering the client example provided above, the client clearly didn’t want to hear about alternative solutions. They had their mind made up about the problem and had a clear path to the solution. For the client, this is a train wreck waiting to happen. Business leaders need alternative solutions. What if I were to ask you how would you prepare your organization for a future 10 years from now? Would you know what to consider? Would you know how to build a scenario profile? Perhaps you do… but do you have the time to research all of the potential disruptions on your event horizon? Or, do you have the know-how to facilitate and analyze a cultural assessment or leadership profile for your team? Perspective leads to insight and insight leads to alternative solutions. It is the knowing of which tools to use and how best to operate them.
The best consulting relationships I’ve entered are collaborative. When you can work with the client to create effective lasting solutions – it is powerful. You need a consultant because you need a new perspective. You need a consultant because you a fresh insight. You need a consultant because you need lasting solutions to your challenges. Wise counsel is a good thing. For that reason alone, it is always good to have a consultant available to you.
Dr. Philip A. Foster is considered a Thought Leader in Business Operations, Organization and Strategic Leadership. He is a prolific writer, published author and lectures internationally. His most recent book “The Open Organization” is now available through Ashgate Publishing. Philip is certified in both Leadership and coaching and serves as Adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. He is the Founder and CEO of Maximum Change Leadership and Business Consulting, serving clients from around the world. He is a Doctor of Strategic Leadership with emphasis in Strategic Foresight and holds a Master of Art in Organizational Leadership, both from Regent University, Virginia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 216-5667.