After an hour-long meeting of highly caffeinated conversations, the executive leadership team woke up this morning creating an Excel list of action items that topped off your inbox. The dreams of last night turned into the demands of the workday today. This Excel list presents yet another opportunity to execute a hefty workload. “Work smarter, not harder” is the famous quote of Allen F. Morgenstern coined in the 1930s. Is this quote just another business cliché epitomizing the corporate dynamic, or is there an underlying truth below the consciousness of strategy?
Consultants provide a unique strategy to execute those demanding lists. Think of it like a horse race; all the horses are saddled up, ready to go, waiting for the signal to be released. A consultant is a person who provides subject matter expert advice professionally. They have a unique skill set that is targeted toward a specified field. Picking the perfect consultant doesn’t have to be a daunting task; it can be fun provided you follow this guide. After reading this, all that is needed is the signal to start the race! Look at some simple steps that will surely have the champion at the finish line.
11 Steps to find the perfect consultant:
- Identify – The first step to success is identifying when and where help is needed. Some of the most successful organizations in the world have mapped out the areas of their organizations where they need expertise and guidance. It is imperative to know where the strengths and weaknesses exist. Moreover, it is crucial that subject matter experts are assigned to those areas.
- Document – Organize and compose a project charter. A project charter outlines the scope, objectives, timelines, and participation of the project. Identifying the key stakeholders, team leaders, and participants of the project is key.
- Communicate – Communicate with your team to gather insight into the project and alignment on the project charter before sharing it with an outsider!
- Connect – Connect within your professional network to identify trustworthy sources. Often our colleagues or former colleagues are the optimal means to find out exactly what we are looking for. Word of mouth is a great form of advertisement. That is why most organizations have those surveys after each experience. How likely are you to refer company XYZ?
- Research – A little research never hurts anyone. Digging into the schematics of a potential organization will help guide your project charter into completion. Who has the company worked with in the past? Are they reputable? Check to see if they are registered with the better business bureau. Also, are they accredited? Does the company hold any specialized certifications? What is their reputation like?
- Choice – Make one! Compose a list identifying your top 3 choices.
- Interview – Once the perfect companies have been identified, interview with them and document the pros and cons of each.
- Collaboration – involve your team and collaborate with them on your findings. Introducing your discoveries and cohesively coming into an agreement on what skillsets are offered would be the best to execute the project charter.
- Approval – Obtain approval from the Executive Leadership Team. Bring coffee and gifts if needed!
- Documentation – Document project terms and conditions. Getting that signature sign-off is crucial to commence the project.
- Breathe! The horses are running, and the champion will soon have the crowd cheering!
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