Jay Desko: If your consultant Doesn’t Provide These 7 Essentials, It’s Time to Move On!

It is estimated that there are over 900,000 management consulting businesses in the U.S. alone! Every consultant works hard to make what they do sound special, proprietary, and epic. But when you pull back the curtain on consulting, it really comes down to how motivated and capable the client is and how capable and experienced the consultant is. It is my belief that, regardless of the processes and methods a consultant may use, a consultant will effectively benefit a client by delivering seven vital services. And when these seven things are done well, the health and effectiveness of the client will improve. Here are seven deliverables your consultant should provide you with.

  1. Face reality.

Denial may feel good in the short run, but it seldom succeeds in the long run. Denial is no more effective in addressing an organization’s challenges than it is in making cancer go away in a person who is ignoring symptoms. Leaders have the responsibility to face reality, regardless of how frightening or overwhelming it may be. And any consultant worth their fees will do just that – help you face reality.

  1. Build the right team.

An organization that has the right people who have the right mindset, the right skills, and the right character can face almost any reality with courage and creativity. They can speak the truth to one another. They can generate a compelling vision together. They can identify the best ways to move towards accomplishing that vision. A good consultant can not only be a valuable member of your team, but he or she can also help assess if you have the team you need to hit the target you are aiming for.

  1. Identify compelling priorities.

You have heard of a “shared vision,” right? In reality, it is easier to get to a shared vision than it is to get to shared priorities. This is because the vision answers the question, “Where are we going?” but the priorities address the question, “How will we get there?” And there are a lot of different priorities that could get you there. A skilled consultant can help guide your focus as you collaborate, evaluate, and select the most strategic priorities.

  1. Take action.

This quote is often attributed to Hellen Keller: “A vision without action is only a dream.” Whether she said it or not, it is so true. Some leaders, boards, and teams can be incapacitated by anxiety. This anxiety can be shaped by fear of losing their jobs, fear of making a mistake, or just plain lack of guts! A consultant can guide (and sometimes even push) your team to take action, including making a decision on hiring, termination, priorities, implementation, etc. Quite often, once a breakthrough decision is made, movement within the organization will once again start to flow.

  1. Deliver expertise.

I recently went to see a doctor who was an expert in one specialized field of medicine. Before the appointment, I looked at his bio and credentials. They were quite impressive and made me confident in trusting his advice. However, if I saw on his bio that he had only a few courses, minimal experience, and little practice, would I have gone to him? Of course not! Yet, this happens in the field of consulting often, especially since there are no regulatory groups that govern the profession of advice-giving. An exceptional advisor is well-trained and highly experienced.

  1. Provide relational trust.

I often say to my clients that there are at least three advisors you need around you whom you highly trust: your attorney, your accountant, and your coach or business advisor. If you lose trust in any of them and it cannot be regained, it is time to fire them. Why? Because leaders need to trust that their advisors have their best interests in mind and are tenaciously guarding against conflicts of interest. If the trust is gone – it’s time to move on.

  1. Spread hope.

Hope is the fuel that enables people to endure tough circumstances, and it is the job of leaders to spread hope to their members. But who reminds them of this? Who holds them accountable for this? And, who provides them with the hope they need to be sustained through the challenges common to leading in the 21st century? That’s right, a gifted consultant should not only help you face reality but should also remind you of the hope that lies ahead of doing the right things.

Our team of experienced consultants and coaches would love to work with you. If you need assistance in building the right team, creating a plan for how to get to the next level, or simply need hope, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • By Jay Desko and used with permission as first published in the September 19, 2023 blog of The Center Consulting Group.

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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