It just isn’t possible to be a prophet in your own land…and other times to hire a consultant!
A consultant can be the perfect solution to a variety of common gaps, challenges and issues that face organizations. Much like getting a tune up on your lap top, bringing in a consultant can be just what's needed for improved performance! Here's some scenarios where consultants have made all the difference:
1. The sleepy team. They’ve been working together well for a long time. But outside factors (the economy, donor giving, competition, changes in technology, changes in diversity of constituency…or any other myriad of factors) mean it is time for your team to take it up a notch. Bringing in an outside consultant can have the same effect as serving your team an energy drink. New tools, new ideas, new perspectives and direct feedback (both positive and challenge focused) can really ramp up your team’s performance. And SURPRISE, SURPRISE…your own performance as well!
2. Fresh set of eyes. Especially in an organization that has had many of the same players and same strategies in place for over 5 years. Consultants come to the table with out baggage or biased. Rarely will you hear a consultant say, “But we’ve always done it that way” or “We tried that back in 1985. It didn’t work.”
3. We’ve got it all…except ______ (fill in the blank). Think of a consultant as a short-term specialist focusing in on an area where you don’t want the financial burden of hiring staff for the long term (strategic planning, developing a marketing strategy, team development, customer service training, fund raising, etc.)
4. All together now! A skillful consultant gets people with divergent opinions into a strategy or work plan much more smoothly than an inside leader would. Consultants listen to all the players and synthesize ideas/opinions into something workable across departments, teams and build bridges between staff, management and boards.
5. Special Delivery! Sometimes important messages just can’t be heard when delivered by an internal person. A good example is when a non-profit board is reluctant to update their mission despite changing external factors. Why does the board listen to a consultant and not staff? Maybe it’s old baggage, maybe it’s ego, maybe staff has said it too many times and now it falls on deaf ears. Regardless, the appearance that fresh information is provided by a consultant can make all the difference! (Just remember to check your ego at the door and resist the temptation to shout, “I’ve been telling you the same thing for months!”)
6. All hands on deck! Do you just need another set of hands? Perhaps you need a project manager to move the publication of a book forward. Or maybe someone to oversee all the details related to an annual dinner. Or how about a ghostwriter for the newsletter or company blog? All these are great tasks for a consultant.
7. What were we thinking? Bob was a high performer with all the tasks associated with his position and even better managing a balanced budget. But now we’ve promoted him and his reports are coming unhinged. In today’s fast paced business climate, all too often high performers get promoted to supervisors without any leadership training, coaching or mentoring. A consultant with leadership coaching experience can help Bob transform into an effective, motivational and inspiring leader!
8. “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate." A consultant can help any team or individual learn skills, tools and strategies for clear, meaningful and strength-based communication that inspires and motivates. The result will be an innovative, collaborative working environment where accountability and meeting or exceeding goals is the norm.
9. Oh my aching back! Every organization has historical nagging problems that wear and tear like a chronic backache. Consultants come to the table with vast experience and specific data about how other like organizations solved those problems once and for all. We all know the saying “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
10. The beloved has left the building. When a long term, successful and much revered key person leave your organization, staff goes through a mourning period. This can be very unfortunate for the next hire, regardless of how skilled or personable they may be. Even if the person who left had some detractors, they suddenly put the former person on a pedestal so high, no new hire can ever live up. This is a great time to bring in a consultant in the role of interim. Interim professionals are quick to start and bring expertise, objectivity, accountability, effectiveness and commitment. They also bring fresh ideas and look at nagging problems with a new set of eyes. Since it is clear from the get go that the interim is just that, temporary, staff have the space to let go of their attachments to the beloved former employee and the new hire doesn’t have to “fill the shoes” of the beloved.
Email or call to chat and see if a consultant is a good solution for your organization!