Friday, August 31, 2007

What Consultants Are Really Hired For

Over the course of my TVCNet blog vacation, I was thinking about what it means to be a consultant and why we are hired by our clients. A few things came to mind.

The decision for a client to hire a consultant to tackle a specific business problem is largely an emotional decision. They need to know that the person they are letting in their inner circle is knowledgeable and trustworthy.

It’s almost like when you go looking for a good doctor or auto mechanic. If you think about it, what criteria do you use to decide which service professional is better than the other? Do you suppose your clients or potential clients judge you the same?

The other thing that came to mind was that we are hired for our leadership. Through our knowledge and expertise in our chosen fields we are being asked by our clients to take a fuzzy situation and guide them to a solution or help them see a situation from a perspective they may not have considered. Essentially, we teach and we educate. To me, those are qualities of a good leader.

Finally, we are hired for our creativity. Mind you, creativity doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or innovative. It just has to be something different than what your client has been doing before. Let’s face it, if our clients or perspective clients were being creative in their endeavors they wouldn’t be calling on us. That’s not to say they aren’t capable of being creative. They may be too close to the problem and not see it for what it really is.

As a consultant, you can be that catalyst for change in your client’s organization. It starts when you know why you are being hired in the first place.

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