3 steps to getting the most out of consultantsMunira Rangwala
Several companies today are bringing external specialists onboard across a variety of verticals like marketing, sales, business strategy, and programming. These external consultants can be an important step in overcoming stumbling blocks and attaining new heights. Entrepreneurs understand this and therefore they are open to hiring externally to give their companies an instant advantage of specific skills for certain projects. Having external consultants on board also gives organisations an outsider's perspective with no emotional involvement whatsoever and allows the in-house team to dedicate their time and energy towards other tasks.
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These consultants are experts in their field and they generally focus on a narrow set of specialties that they can deploy across a wide variety of verticals. For example, a good sales consultant should be able to evaluate a target audience and the product in question and lay out a successful sales strategy.
Here are three steps to help entrepreneurs get the most out of the consultants they hire:
Seek challenges instead of setting specific goals
Consultants are experts by nature and they are trained to find out the best fixes to the problems laid out in front of them. Instead of setting goals for the consultants before hand, entrepreneurs should list the challenges faced by the company and allow the consultants to explore the causes and the best solutions to the existing obstacles. This will give the consultants an opportunity to set objectives alongside the stakeholders which will ensure that everyone who matters is on the same page. When consultants are given a chance to fully deploy their skills against a challenge, companies get a new perspective on the complications they are facing.
Don't keep secrets from the consultants
If you want your hired consultants to get the best possible outcome, they need to be given the lay of the land. Only when they are fully aware of the good and the bad, the financial difficulties and the internal grievances, will they be able to operate successfully. When a consultant has full visibility of the entire organisation, he will be able to develop a better understanding of the landscape in which he is operating. Several companies try to hide the negative aspects of their business from external consultants, but this only does more harm than good.
The consultant and the company should settle on the key performance indicators that will signify the success of a project. This should be done before any contracts are signed or any plan of action is created. If there is no shared understanding of the metric that will be used to measure the success of a project, it will lead to problems in the distant future. While one party will be under the impression that the project is flourishing, the other might be woefully disappointed. To avoid this, the company leaders and the consultant should openly discuss every detail in advance.
Finding the right individual who will understand your needs is not easy, but a capable consultant will bring about the much-needed change to your business. Use the above mentioned three techniques to ensure you get the best from any expert you hire.