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5 Reasons Consultants Don't Make Sense

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Organizations are often faced with challenges they are struggling to overcome due to the lack of resources or expertise. Management may be inclined to bring in a consultant to help overcome these challenges. But, under what circumstances might that be a bad idea?

When considering whether to engage a consultant, following are five reasons it might not make sense:

  1. Solution shopping, Most consultants have tools and approaches they have used successfully with various organizations. Beware of the consultant who focuses on the solution without having spent enough time to understand your organization’s situation and ensure it is the right solution for you.
  2. Skills mismatch. Many consultants are experts, with well-honed skills. But, are those skills and expertise what your organization needs for this specific project? Ask questions and have the consultant provide examples of similar projects with which they have had success.
  3. Interest mismatch. While all consultants are interested in generating revenues, are they interested in being true partners? Be sure the organization’s philosophies align with the consultant’s.
  4. It should be a core competency. If the organization regularly finds itself in need of support for the same skill set, such as project management, or management development, consider whether it will make sense to bring this expertise in-house. Do the math and look at what you expect the organization to need over the next few years.
  5. Knowledge transfer.  A consultant who becomes indispensable because of the knowledge or expertise they hold is a risk to your organization. Consider what knowledge your retained staff needs to have developed after the project to avoid dependency. Work with consultants who understand the value of knowledge transfer as part of providing truly value-added consulting.

Sometimes the best solution is not engaging a consultant. At a minimum, consider the items outlined above and factor those into your selection process when identifying the right consultant for your organization.