The many abilities of a GOOD consultant

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Are you hiring the right one?

In all of my years of being a consultant, either working within a consultancy or now running my own, I have met all sorts of individuals who contest to being a “Consultant”. Some have been true to their description however some most certainly have not. Are these people serving to support the sometimes negative perception of consultants – probably?

So before you hire your next consultant please consider the following:

Consulting represents a particularly challenging management task for a number of reasons. The consultant is not working within their own organisation and are acting very much as an outsider. In some ways this is an advantage as an external viewpoint can sometimes be greatly useful. The consultant can make recommendations that challenge the norm for the business. On the whole, as an outsider, the consultant is in a stronger position to advocate difficult courses.

However, being an outsider presents some challenges. In order to meet the challenging consultancy environment the successful must develop a skills profile that allows them to call upon three key areas:

  1. An ability to manage the consulting exercise as a formal project
    • An ability to define objectives and outcomes
    • An ability to develop formal plans
    • An ability to sequence and prioritise tasks
    • An ability to manage the financial resources that are to be invested into the consulting project
    • An ability to recognise the human expertise necessary to deliver the project
    • An ability to manage personal time.
  2. An ability to manage the analytical skills necessary to gain an understanding of the client business and the possibilities it faces
    • An ability to identify what information is available and needed in a particular situation
    • An ability to process that information to identify the important relationships within it
    • An ability to draw meaning from that information and use it to support decision making
    • An ability to recognise the business’s profile of strengths, weaknesses and capabilities
    • An ability to recognise the opportunities and challenges the environment offers the business
    • An ability to assess the business’s financial situation
    • An ability to evaluate the business’s markets and how they are developing
    • An ability to assess the business’s internal conditions
    • An ability to analyse the way in which decision making occurs within the business
  3. An ability to communicate ideas and positively influence others.
    • An ability to build rapport and trust with the client
    • An ability to question effectively
    • An ability to communicate ideas succinctly and precisely
    • An ability to negotiate objectives and outcomes
    • An ability to convince through verbal, written and visual mediums
    • An ability to use information to make a case for a particular course of action
    • An ability to develop selling strategies
    • An ability to work effectively as a member of a team
    • An ability to demonstrate leadership

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