I’ve been a consultant now for 5 years and in that time I have experienced three different consultant behaviours which drive different outcomes.
Here is my analysis on what to watch out for.
1) The furniture consultant
Often independent contractors, these consultants are used by companies who need bodies to deliver their already scoped projects. The furniture consultant is constrained by the status quo and has limited opportunity to challenge, innovate and change the ways of working to get the job done more efficiently. They are told what to do instead of drawing on their expertise to provide a fresh perspective and alternative approach. I speak from experience here, there is a real risk of these consultants falling inside IR35 because the only thing that distinguishes them from a permanent employee is their daily rate.
2) The darkened room consultant
A traditional grassroots management consultant who believes they have the solutions without really understanding the root causes to the problems they have been tasked to solve. The darkened room consultant often has full autonomy to instigate change initiatives and design solutions in isolation. The people impacted by these change initiatives are usually kept out of the loop with no sense of what’s coming, causing anguish and trepidation, and puts the viability of the solution at risk because their knowledge hasn’t been leveraged. The darkened room consultant is guilty of retaining knowledge of the solution they have imposed on people and not preparing them to sustain it once they have left – they just go away.
3) The leader consultant
This is my kind of consultant, and the type of consultant I believe is the most effective. The leader consultant is a communicator, an innovator and an enabler. They engage with the right people at the right time to lead teams with broad knowledge of the problems they are trying to solve and enable them to shape sustainable solutions in-line with their goals and business objectives. The leader consultant challenges the current thinking to inspire innovation and cultivate a different mind-set, building capability to prepare for future success – this is the Tanic way and it’s continuously improving.
Consider the type of consultant you need for the work you’re asking them to do, and use this insight at the hiring stage to prevent issues further down the line.