Chances are, every time you ask someone what their idea of what a consultant does, you might get a different answer. However, no matter how many different thought’s you hear, you’ll probably hear many of those people say hiring a management consulting firm or individual management consultant just isn’t worth the fees they were paid.
While I’ve seen many good consultants, I’ve also seen many bad ones as well but no matter how good the consultant is, its important that the client implement the advice properly once the consultant leaves. Of course, another answer might be to keep a small team on to help implement the change, but far too many organizations don’t budget such follow through into their budget or fail to do so for some other reason.
While browsing through some old Harvard Business Review articles, I found one that can address this subject nicely. Take a look here. It might be an oldie from 1982 but its a goodie.
The article goes well beyond just providing advice and develops a hierarchy of consulting purposes that will serve as a good framework to help a client implement the change that’s needed.
1. Providing information to a client.
2. Solving a client’s problems.
3. Making a diagnosis, which may necessitate redefinition of the problem.
4. Making recommendations based on the diagnosis.
5. Assisting with implementation of recommended solutions.
6. Building a consensus and commitment around corrective action.
7. Facilitating client learning—that is, teaching clients how to resolve similar problems in the future.
8. Permanently improving organizational effectiveness.
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