Disclaimer: I’m an independent consultant so I’m likely to view consultancy in quite a positive light!
Sometimes you just can’t see the wood for the trees. Sometimes your team doesn’t quite have the right skill set. Sometimes you need someone else to deliver the bad news (yes that does happen). Whatever it is, sometimes its useful to get someone from outside the organisation in to provide a fresh perspective on a project, situation, strategy, problem.
Consultants can get a bad wrap sometimes, especially if they are perceived to be overly expensive and nothing more than meddlesome. Even I’ve experienced bad consultants! But good consultants and well-managed consultants can provide a wealth of experience and support that is worth considerable more to the organisation than their day rate.
If you want to get the most out of a consultant here are 5 tips that you will find useful:
- Be clear about why you need a consultant and what they are going to do
- Be clear about who will be involved from the client side and what learning you want to get out of the process
- Be flexible when necessary and ensure the consultant is clear about their constraints
- Be open to feedback (even critical feedback) but there is a difference between bad news and bad consultants
- Feedback to your consultant and hold them to account
What has your experience of consultants been? Would you support a register, or chartered certificate for civil society consultants?