There are a lot of great things that can be said about consultants. But something that has to be said about them in a group is that they can make a major mess of things sometimes.
I don’t mean that you won’t get good advice. What I mean is that consultants all believe that they’re correct almost all of the time. It’s an occupational hazard because one doesn’t stay a consultant by being wrong too often. Sure, consultants can make mistakes, but they’re almost always informed mistakes as opposed to not knowing what they’re doing.
In our own consultant’s group, whenever we have meetings we know that we’re all very strong willed individuals. Each of us can listen to someone speaking on a topic that we might not even know and we’ll all have opinions on it. Sometimes one person goes overboard and has to be reeled back in, and sometimes that person reels themselves back in; that’s what professional do.
But let’s face a couple of facts. Consultants are hired mainly for one thing; their ability to come up with ideas to help move things forward. As much as someone might say that consultants are hired to fix things, no one walks in and just fixes things if they have any sense at all.
Consulting takes evaluation. For instance, I had an electrician come into my house because one of my rooms had lost power from 5 of the six outlets. He could have come in, just fixed the problem, and left in 10 minutes. Instead, he took time to evaluate everything and realized that it was a wiring problem that extended beyond that one room, and was something that needed to be addressed for safety beyond just fixing the one problem.
Consulting takes guts. I say that because often we come into a situation where we throw out an idea and we get the response “we tried that already.” Did they really? I’ve often found as a consultant that they tried the concept but not the practice as I’m ready to define it. And even if my process doesn’t work, reality shows that scientists go through thousands of tests with something whether it works or not to see if the same thing occurs each time. Sometimes you just have to rule things out.
Consultants aren’t perfect by any means. We can make a mess of things, but we’ll usually fix them and make things better before we leave. There is no “one solution fixes all” procedure that works for everyone. Sure, it might work for almost everyone, but eventually it won’t work for someone; that’s when real consulting begins.
Consultants might shake things up, but they won’t do it more for you than they do it for themselves. You should see what we come up with when we meet on our own; what a raucously good time. As a matter of fact, if you’re a Syracuse area consultant or independent business person, we’d love for you to come to one of our meetings to see what we’re all about.