Tiago Garjaka shares an article that offers a few tips on how to effectively leverage consultants.
As a McKinsey alumnus, I am quite familiar with the consulting business model. I’ve been involved in great projects and others that, let’s just say, were not so great. After joining the corporate world, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several consulting companies, ranging from very large to very small, on a number of different topics.
Just to be clear: I do believe consultants can offer tremendous value to your company if you know how and when to leverage them. However, time and time again, I’ve been surprised by how little value companies got out of their consulting investment. This is even more true for large transformation initiatives, which can quickly become a money drain.
So, how do you ensure you can effectively leverage consultants? The following lessons have proven invaluable for me:
Be crystal clear about your objectives. This may sound obvious, but it is probably one of the most frequent mistakes I observe. Really, you shouldn’t be signing a consulting agreement until you can clearly articulate the help you need and what success looks like for the project. Make sure that your objectives are clearly outlined in the proposal you sign and written in a language you can understand (sometimes, despite your best efforts, projects go wrong and you have to let go of the consultants you’ve hired – and you will thank yourself for having done this).
Shop around for at least 3 strong contenders. I understand that you may have your go-to person or company, but there are fantastic people out there you may never get to meet unless you shop around a bit. As a rule of thumb, you should interview at least 3 strong contenders before making up your mind, even though doing so takes more time. You will learn a tremendous amount by seeing how different people would approach the problem, which can influence your own thinking.
It’s not about the consulting company; it is about the lead consultant. This may come as a surprise, but I am sure about it. I’ve seen some very weak people in big name consulting shops, and I’ve also seen amazing folks in companies you’ve never heard about. The truth is that once you are clear about what you need, it is much easier to cut through the bs and quickly evaluate whether the consultant you are interviewing has real experience with and battle scars from this type of work. You must be certain that the lead consultant is a good fit for you and your team, and that they possess the knowledge and resources to make the project successful.
Key points include:
- Internal selling of the project
- Meeting frequency
- Sharing the financial arrangement
Read the full article, How to get your money’s worth when hiring consultants for your transformation projects, on TiagoGarjaka.com.