Do I Need a Consultant?

If you are wondering if you need a consultant, the likely next question is: How do I find one that I trust? Consulting is one of the few fields that remains almost completely unregulated and without a body that licenses or certifies someone to be a consultant. That means that basically anyone can call hang up a shingle and call themselves a consultant and this makes it very difficult for consumers to know who is the “real deal.”

The simplest definition of a consultant is described by our founder, Ray Rood: “A consultant is a person who comes alongside an individual and/or organization and helps them achieve their goals.”

The lack of standards and standardization in consulting has led to what many describe as “consultant fatigue.” I was talking to a prospective client and they said that often times they bring in a consultant and “pay them a lot of money to have them tell me what I already know.”

Because of this general distrust of consultants, it is really important to know what exactly you need from a consultant and what level of help you need.  To that end, it may be helpful to answer the following two questions: Do you already know what the problem is or do you need help identifying the problem?  Do you need technical help to address an area that you cannot afford full-time help in or is it a more global concern?

There are several reasons why consultants are hired to help companies, but at first glance, you might wonder why you wouldn’t be able to work out the challenges on your own.  Often times a consultant will be brought in for one of three reasons:

  1. It is an area where the company cannot afford to hire a full-time person (such as HR, IT, or Marketing).
  2. The executive needs outside perspective on the entire company and cannot talk to employees to get input about the sensitive dynamics they are facing.
  3. The company needs assistance in coordinating a broad effort that they do not have the expertise to endeavor – OR it is best to have it come from the outside so ALL can participate (strategic planning, succession planning, or leadership development).

Companies often need outside input. The adage “Physician, heal thyself” applies here where many times you may believe you should be able to see everything going on in your company and fix it.  The reality is you may be too close to the challenge and need an outside eye to offer up fresh perspective or to be sure you aren’t missing an obvious answer—to help you understand what you already know. Understanding allows us to DO something with what we know. Consultants often do this by asking a lot of questions to gain clarity, by giving language to the dynamic you are facing so that understanding can be used in an ongoing way and offering tools that will help address the clarity that is gained.

Genysys looks at the role of the consultant as being mostly facilitators and educators in ways that assist our clients to increasingly become their own leaders of change efforts.  

The role of the consultant changes as the organization changes. This is a sign of the work moving forward.  A good consultant is looking to work themselves out of one role and into the next by doing the following:

  1. Assisting clients in drawing out and giving language to what clients already know so they can better understand and therefore utilize what is already known. Teaching clients how to do this for themselves.
  2. Providing ideas, tools and resources to assist clients in initiating, managing, and sustaining organizational transformation.  Since all organizational change is first personal, each person must be given the opportunity to see themselves as an agent of change and key to the organization’s ability to progress.
  3. Encouraging clients to utilize the workplace as the laboratory for considering and experimenting with needed change. 

Because good consultants work with a variety of companies, it is likely that they have worked through a similar challenge before, which can bring innovative ideas and best practices to the table. They can question and help clarify motivations, help organizations to hold strong to their core values, call out when there are inconsistencies or gaps that need to be addressed, and help in the process of addressing what the organization needs to move forward toward thriving.

Consultants are meant to come alongside key stakeholders in a company and support them in an area of expertise. For Genysys, this entails ensuring the organization has a clear 10-year vision, areas of focus /goals that serve the vision, prioritized strategies that allow the goals to be achieved, and we are experts in helping individuals and teams understand the role that they play as leaders and agents of change to clarify needed action and make it all happen.  

Next time you are considering hiring a consultant, be sure to have the consultant FIRST help you get clear about what you really need and how they can help you BEFORE you sign on the dotted line!  If there is not clarity – no one wins!  


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