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Expectations from a Consultant!!

By Suresh, CEO & Founder, Vruksham Talent Group

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Suresh, CEO & Founder, Vruksham Talent Group

As our country is reforming itself into a fast growing economy under the dynamic rule of a new government it is inevitable to focus on and harness the potential of human resources across wide spectrum of the society in general and corporate sector in specific. It is worth mentioning here that the market forces are driving the economy. Noting the same almost all the political systems and political leadership across the globe made attempts to be in touch with the market forces through business community.

Corporate sector is no exception and in fact is expected to lead the transformation of their own system to meet the demands of market driven economy. This in turn has lead to cultural transformation at work place. Organizations who sensed this need have taken the help of expertise viz. “consultant” in facilitating the required change/ transformation in a time bound structured manner. Organizations that failed to sense this need or made halfhearted attempt became slowly losing their business edge. Hence the crucial role of consultant in facilitating the transformation of work culture need to be closely looked at by the ultimate decision makers in the organization viz.CEO’s, MD’s, Owners, and Promoters etc.:

A consultant can provide solutions but not execute the solutions

A consultant with an appropriate understanding and assessment of the situation prevailing in the client company will arrive at an optimal solution for the client. Many a time the decision makers leave / transfer the responsibility of executing the solution to the consultant or else sometimes the solution is executed with half hearted enthusiasm. In both the cases attempts will be made to blame the consultant/ the solution provided. A consultant can facilitate the implementation. Hence, never delegate the responsibility to execute to the consultant.

Hire a consultant who can develop internal resources

A consultant on his/her own cannot bring sustainable changes. Consultant can contribute significantly in making changes related to structure, system or process. However these changes can be sustained by the internal team of employees. Hence aim to utilize consultant expertise in developing an internal team that can sustain the changes in long run. It also reduces dependency on consultant in the long run.

Discuss, understand and arrive at consensus with the consultant on expected deliverables

Some decision makers start discussing with the consultant about their fee/pay revision half way through the project without understanding/ without paying attention to what is being delivered and what is expected to be delivered.  Better keep the focus on deliverables at the time of taking decision rather than on the cost alone. Decision makers tobetter educate the team members who join interim once the decision is taken.

Hire technology for replacing human intervention but do not hire a consultant with an aim to replace employees

 Lot of companies invested in ERP system aiming to efficiently manage their information system ended up in having the old system as a fall back for various reasons better known to them. This not only increased the work load of employees but also the cost. Close look at the companies that successfully implemented ERP reveals that the deliverables are discussed and understood and implementation is lead by the decision maker. A consultant is hired only to transfer his/her knowledge and skills to enable the employees in effectively utilizing the technology.

Document the phased plan vs. time frame and the involvement of internal resources

A documented plan will help to reduce the gaps in understanding of internal employees, enables uniform communication and ensures trust between the client and the consultant. A proper planning before business implementation helps in utilizing the existing resources better. Also, being versatile in choosing business concepts and techniques will guarantee a richer collaboration between consultants and clients.

Periodical Review by the decision maker is the only way to achieve desired results

Here is where the vision of decision maker plays a role. If the vision is clear, providing direction is the next logical step to transform the vision into reality. A decision maker can provide an appropriate direction by understanding the progress and ensuring support. This can happen only through periodical review that enables employees to feel the seriousness of vision to be achieved and establishes the deliverables.

Don’t over estimate the role of consultant

Hiring a consultant is not the “panacea” for all the problems. A consultant is not a magic wand to bring about sweeping changes or quick fix solutions. Hence reasonable time frames to be arrived at vis-a-vis deliverables.

To conclude the client and consultant are like the wheels of an automobile. Success can be achieved only when both movein the same direction with same speed. 

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