I read a book recently that every consultant and every person who hires consultants might want to consider reading. The book is called “The Executives Guide to Consultants: How to Find, Hire and Get Great Results from Outside Experts.” Having been in the consulting business for almost 20 years, I was curious to read about my profession from the other side of the table.
One of the valuable concepts in the book that sounds like common sense but may not be common practice was the list of acceptable outcomes from a consulting project. The premise is that the only outcomes that really add value are: 1) a recommended decision, 2) a recommended plan for implementing a decision, or 3) the implementation of a plan.
Over the past several years, I’ve made a deliberate shift in my consulting work to focus on working with clients that need a long-term partner to help them implement their plans. I’ve found that is the best way to insure successful outcomes. It is true though, that sometimes an executive just wants the consultant to make a recommendation and isn’t looking for implementation. “The Executives Guide to Consultants,” does a good job of providing a framework to determine the specific objective and how to structure the work to insure a successful outcome.