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StrategyDriven Advisors Corner Article

The Advisor’s Corner – When Should Consultants Be Used?

Question:

We’ve brought in a number of high priced consultants to perform a business case analysis. In hind sight, it appears we could have done the same work with internal resources. Why then did we hire these costly advisors?

StrategyDriven Response:

There are many reasons for hiring consultants. One or more of these likely applied in your situation:

  1. The consultants brought unique insights and experiences from outside your organization; enabling them to develop and present points of view that would otherwise have not been available for consideration.
  2. The organization staff did not have the capacity to perform the given task. Therefore, the consultants were hired to augment the labor pool.
  3. The existing staff had the capacity but not the knowledge and skills to perform the work. (Note that this appears to not be a factor given the question asked but is a legitimate reason for hiring consultants.)
  4. The organization is reluctant to implement the recommendations made by those internal resources not viewed as being experts in a particular area. Subsequently, the consultants are brought in because of their ‘expert status’ that leaders know will enable them to move forward with a desired course of action.

The reason for engaging consultants should always be understood prior to hiring them. Clear, quantifiable expectations should be documented within the statement of work that define the value they are to bring to the organization whether that is external knowledge and experience, labor augmentation, skills augmentation, or to drive a particular perspective. The consultants must be held to the achievement of these established goals in order to ensure they have met the return on investment promised by their employment.

Final Thought…

Using consultants should always be on a temporary basis. Some organizations fall prey to hiring consultants for temporary staff augmentation only to find that these individuals remain in position for years if not decades. Such circumstances highlight an understaffing condition that should be alleviated by the typically less expensive option of hiring additional resources rather than engaging costly consultants for extended periods.

Additional Resources

StrategyDriven Contributors further highlight the benefits of using consultants in the article, Independent Assessors.

The Advisor’s Corner – How Do You Sell a Major Change?

Question:

Feedback indicates my company’s current leadership training program, though inexpensive, yields little to no value. My research shows that an alternative training program has produced superior, measurable results at other organizations. How should I go about selling my manager and the organization on the need to change from our current training program to this alternative one?

StrategyDriven Response:

Decisions to make significant changes are not often made quickly. Rather, these decisions are made after receiving input from affected stakeholders and subjecting each available option to a thoughtful cost versus benefit evaluation. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why organizations often use business cases to facilitate the decision-making process.

Well constructed business cases often require significant personnel and financial resources to develop. Considering the complexity and significance of the circumstance presented, we believe your first step should be to gain authorization to expend the resources necessary to research and develop the business case for the proposed change in the leadership training program. Once developed, your well structured business case, clearly presenting the costs and benefits associated with each alternative, will help you secure the management decision you seek to revise the organization’s leadership and training program.

Final Thought…

We suggest your business case include not only the two options presented in the initial question but also any additional alternatives presented by the responsible manager or other members of the organization. Leveraging their knowledge and experience may help you identify other worthwhile alternatives that would otherwise not be considered.

The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to TheAdvisorsCorner@StrategyDriven.com.

New Service Announcement – The Advisor’s Corner

To further expand on our ongoing strategic planning and tactical business execution conversation, StrategyDriven Contributors are proud to announce the launch of a new service, The Advisor’s Corner. This service provides all guests to the StrategyDriven website an opportunity to ask direct questions of our experienced business professionals. Questions and answers will then be posted in The Advisor’s Corner category for all site visitors to view. Additionally, StrategyDriven members will have the opportunity to share their insights and experience by way of comments and feedback to these postings.

Questions can be submitted to The Advisor’s Corner by email at TheAdvisorsCorner@StrategyDriven.com or by using the ‘Email The Advisor’s Corner’ link located on the right sidebar on the StrategyDriven website. If desired, questions may be submitted anonymously to maintain confidentiality.

StrategyDriven contributors greatly appreciate the continued patronage of our website and hope this new offering is of benefit to all our site’s visitors.

The Advisor’s Corner Introduction

The Advisor’s Corner expands on the strategic planning and tactical business execution dialogue between StrategyDriven contributors and our websites visitors. Postings in this category reflect questions asked by StrategyDriven members and guests and the advice provided by one or more of our highly experienced business professionals. Additionally, StrategyDriven members are provided the opportunity to share their insights and experiences by way of comments and feedback to the individual postings.

All visitors to the StrategyDriven website are encouraged to submit their questions to The Advisor’s Corner by email at TheAdvisorsCorner@StrategyDriven.com or by using the ‘Email The Advisor’s Corner’ link located on the right sidebar on the StrategyDriven website. If desired, questions may be submitted anonymously to maintain confidentiality.