Regular readers of my column already know that I've been in the management consulting game for over 25 years. In that time, I've heard every excuse imaginable for why a prospective client doesn't need my help, or anyone else's for that matter. As you might imagine, I beg to differ. Here are the top 10 excuses used for not hiring a Management Consultant and the reason why those excuses can come to hurt you and your business:
- We only use the biggest firms. This can be unfortunate. The larger firms tend to use a business model whereby the most experienced partners sell the work and their least experienced associates do the work. This leads to a lot of frustration on the part of the client and can give management consulting a bad name. Don't be afraid to use "boutique" firms who have the skills and capacity to provide you with the TLC you need to be successful.
- We only use industry experts. This is a terrific idea as long as you want the same old, tired strategies and solutions used by your competitors. Breakthrough thinking comes from outsiders who don't have a vested interest in preserving the "norms" of the industry. Find consultants that bring methods for solving problems to the table and not one's who are likely to deliver a "canned" solution that they used elsewhere.
- I've been burned by consultants in the past. As mentioned above, a lack of experience on the part of the consultant can significantly affect the outcome of a consulting effort. You want seasoned professionals to work your account and shepherd their solutions into your company.
- We can do it ourselves. Really? You have enough capacity in your business that you can free up the "right" people to successfully run a project on a full-time basis? Hmmm? Maybe, we can help you to streamline and "right size" the place!
- We know more about "it" than you do. I couldn't agree more! So, don't hire me to do what you already know how to do. Instead, let me bring a process for thinking that will help you to improve or change your current paradigm and position you to continue to flourish within your industry.
- What if "it" fails? Projects can fail. Why not improve your chances for success by hiring a professional that only does these kinds of projects for a living? You can minimize risks by hiring an experienced consultants who has already been successful in doing the work that you need done.
- We tried consultants in the past and it didn't work out. There are all kinds of reasons why your past experience didn't deliver the expected results. The use of an outsider to do the work was likely not the reason for failure. Let me explain how we can be successful by providing you with a framework for monitoring and managing the engagement.
- If I hire you, I may be perceived as incapable. If you fail to meet expectations, you will be deemed incapable. However, using an outside expert to get the job done shows the world that you do whatever it takes to make your business a success.
- If I hire you, "they" wouldn't need me? I don't want your job. I have one of my own. That said, if "they" charged you with getting something done and you don't have the experience (or the time) to deliver it, you won't be around long enough to know who replaced you anyway.
- Consultants costs too much. Yes, consulting fees can add up. However, it is also expensive to hiring a team of experienced people whom you may only need around for a short duration. So, let me maintain the overhead of retaining this set of special talent, while you focus on the core of your business.
Indisputably, the most successful businesses in the world routinely seek the counsel of management consultants--many of my successful clients, in fact, keep me on retainer to ensure that they have access to a "trusted advisor" to bounce ideas off of whenever they need a different point-of-view. Yet, so many leaders refuse to use consultants. If you're one of those leaders, I hope that the ideas presented here will help you to rethink your position on the subject. After all, everyone needs a little help from time to time.
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