It’s common practice for large companies to hire a consultant to solve a problem. These smart, creative people descend on a company, research the problem, develop their solution and present the bill with the  final report as they leave.

Unfortunately, all too often the report gathers dust on a shelf and nothing in the organization changes. It isn’t because these consultants aren’t smart or the suggestions they offer aren’t worth following; the plans fail because the company took a hands-off approach to the entire process.

Companies pay the fee expecting the problems to be solved when the checks are written, but it just doesn’t work that way. Unless there are champions inside the organization who are part of the process along they way, there will be no one with a vested interested in a successful outcome at the end of the project.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you shouldn’t hire consultants. I think having someone who is not so deeply entrenched in the day to day operations will bring a fresh perspective to your problem. The right consultant will also bring skills and tools that don’t have inside your organization. But just hiring the consultant isn’t enough. You have to have both the will and the manpower to actually implement the changes they suggest. Otherwise, you’re just spending money.

The trick to getting really game changing results from a consultant is for you or senior members of your team involved in the strategy development, checking the suggestions along the way, to be sure you have the pieces in place to execute what it created.

photo credit: The Ugly Sweater Shop