Consulting Myths 2 - What do YOU know I don’t?
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
Addressing the elephant in the room, or in other words, THE consultant in the boardroom.
Consultants at all levels from all companies face this; yet, they rarely talk about it. Some clients clearly voice this opinion, others have skepticism written all over their face. Sure enough, you can’t miss it.
What value do you add to the client organization as an outsider who doesn’t know the business and the industry as well as the client does. Moreover, your services are perceived to be extremely expensive so how do you prove your worth?
It is true. Consulting, especially strategy consulting services are priced at a high premium and clients (at least certain members of the client company) know the business better than any external expert will ever do in a short period of time.
So what value do we add?
Bring specialized and diverse expert team and speed that would be otherwise time-consuming and costly for the client to obtain
Ask questions that force clients to step outside of their daily routine, entertain ideas they haven’t considered previously
Discover patterns, gaps, insights through data analysis and interviews that the client leadership is not aware of and leverage cross-industry experience that translates well into the client's circumstances
Introduce robust analytics, structure and methodologies that ideally become part of the organization’s decision making process going forward
Approach problems with an objective and unbiased perspective (boy, are there emotions and politics when the company’s future is at stake)
Finally, let’s address the most controversial point: what is the value add when the consultant returns with a recommendation that is a mosaic of the client’s own insights?
Consultants integrate data, insights and internal voices into a big picture view that fits into the overall strategy, market positioning and financial objectives. Bringing it all together this way generates clarity and enables the CEO to act on critical issues with confidence.
Frankly, the main value we can add is that the client follows through on the recommendation because the leadership has clarity and confidence in solving the problem this way.
As a consultant, you better admit to yourself quickly that there are people looking to discredit your contribution, your rigor and keen on catching any mistakes you might make. We will review those mistakes in a follow up post but for now, make sure that you are always respectful, polite and upbeat as well as deliver recommendations that are fact-based and bulletproof (easy?!).
Disclosure: Consulting is a highly rewarding and fun career, I enjoy every moment of being THE consultant.