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10 Business Scenarios When Organizations Hire Consultants

These days hiring business consultants is fraught with biases and misconceptions, clients need to know that we have the knowledge and experience to help them. Here I attempt to boil it down to the most frequent scenarios organizations seek out consultants.

1. Adding horsepower to the staff. For organizations already stretched thin, hiring consultants can build capacity to complete mission critical projects, while also saving additional money by not having to hire full-time employees. Oftentimes, the current roster of in-house talent are already deployed on projects and the need to build capacity to take on additional projects means bringing in talent from the outside.

2. Identify improvement opportunities. Employees that are too close to a problem inside an organization are most likely to accept the status quo and sometimes lack the experience to tackle the most complex challenges. A fresh perspective can often help organizations realize what's missing, or even what's been right in front of them all along.

3. Big new business initiatives. The ability to conceive game changing ideas and develop a game plan separates the good from the great consultants. Putting the appropriate complex programs together should be at the core of your consultant's practice, and as a client you will benefit from having a plan that is actionable and achievable.

4. Proven track record = reduced risk. Being really good in your field usually means that you've already learned from past mistakes and won't waste time and money by repeating them. A successful business consultant will know the steps involved to reach the desired outcome, and have a proven track record of achievement to avoid common pitfalls. By demonstrating successful tangible outcomes to similar business challenges, clients can drastically reduce the risk of mission critical projects.

5. Facilitation. A consultant may be brought in to "get the ball rolling" with a group or department. Oftentimes, organizations need an independent 3rd party to help different functions and team members work at their best together. As a facilitator, a consultant may be best able to help teams navigate conflict constructively so the best outcomes are achieved.

6. A consultant may be hired to provide much-needed objectivity. A good consultant provides an objective, fresh viewpoint. Having a 3rd party consultant validate or audit a project is often the best way for leaders to get through a constructive conflict or find a neutral party to help negotiate the best solution for all involved.

7. Transfer knowledge. Staying on top of the latest trends and methods makes a consultant extremely valuable. Consultant's ability to share knowledge (intellectual property) edifies the entire staff and raises everyone's game in the department or company.

8. Catalyst for change. In every business there are times when an organization needs a "shot in the arm" to getting momentum rolling again. Looking for consultants who consistently bring enthusiasm, innovation and new ideas. Consultants can provide a framework and program structure to get past the most challenging hurdles holding organizations back from achieving their key objectives.

9. Dealing with difficult subject matter. Oftentimes organizations find it difficult to break bad news to employees. Consultants often serve as a solution to surface controversial situations through objective analysis, providing a needed buffer for managers.

10. Good old fashioned influence. Sometimes hiring a consultant simply based on their access to key clients or contacts is the best solution. These days the line between consulting and lobbying has become more blurred. However, the results can work to an organization's benefit just the same.