Medium 9780874259230

The Manager's Pocket Guide to Using Consultants

Views: 463
Ratings: (0)

What if the next consultant you hired came with an instruction manual filled with strategies to maximize your end of the relationship? That’s exactly what this pocket guide is _ a practical how-to guide to taking full advantage of what the right consultant can provide. Manager's Pocket Guide to Using Consultants packs into one concise book information it would take you years of trial-and-error to learn on your own. In eight chapters, it will help you think through and execute all the important decisions when using consultants. Anyone using or thinking about using consultants will appreciate this advice _ including CEOs, vice presidents, managing directors and others responsible for delivering results. The author has worked inside organizations as a client, externally as a consultant and has helped many other consultants raise their game. If you want a unique 360-degree view that’s right on-target, this book is for you.

List price: $14.95

Your Price: $11.96

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

7 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1: A Field Guide to Consultants

PDF
Wouldn’t it be great if consultants came with an instruction manual?

There are many, many books written for consultants on how to work effectively with executives and managers inside client companies. However, most managers don’t have the tools, strategies, and tips to maximize their end of the relationship and to take full advantage of the huge potential value that the right consultant—brought in for the right reason to do the right work the right way—can provide to their organizations. Until now.

What if the next consultant you hired came with an instruction manual—an instructional manual that is filled with strategies to maximize your end of the relationship and to take full advantage of what the right consultant can provide? You’re holding that manual in your hand right now.

Managers who have to deal with consultants in addition to carrying out their own day-to-day work responsibilities feel understandably overwhelmed. This book will make the task less daunting.  

Chapter 2: Establishing the Relationship

PDF
Establishing the Relationship

Just as you cannot build a solid house without a foundation, you cannot build a solid consulting relationship without laying the foundation for it. Your preparation steps should include establishing roles and responsibilities (clearly and early on), and documenting the big-picture aims and the specific details of how the consulting relationship and the project itself is to unfold.Preparing for the Consulting Project.

The first task you should undertake to make sure that a successful consulting engagement takes place (and that you do the most effective clienting you possibly can) is to get your internal house in order. This means getting all the stakeholders, committees, and organizational leaders to buy in to and support the project for the right reasons, and with integrity and commitment.Follow these two important steps to prepare for an outside consultant:

1. Establish roles and responsibilities.
2. Prepare the consulting services agreement (CSA).Establishing Roles and Responsibilities  

Chapter 3: Working Side by Side with Your Consultant

PDF
Working Side by Side with Your Consultant

As work begins, managing the consulting relationship, establishing healthy two-way communication patterns, and developing mutual trust will become the manager’s critical tasks. These are things that definitely will not take care of themselves; to ignore them is to commit management abdication.

Keep in mind that a good consultant will be doing the project with you, and not to you. It’s important for you as the manager to stay in the game and play smart, so both you and your consultant win.

Managing the Day-to-Day RelationshipThe relationship between the consultant and the manager is a partnership: You bring subject matter expertise and he or she brings consulting or process expertise. However, the manager’s main role is to make sure that the consultant follows the agreedupon work plan and provides a satisfactory level of quality.

The manager must also address issues that the consultant raises when preparing and implementing the work plan. While there is no single good strategy for managing consultants, here are some good recommendations.  

Chapter 4: Evaluating Outcomes and Making Adjustments

PDF
Evaluating Outcomes and Making Adjustments

A game where you don’t keep score is a game not worth playing. In fact, the word for playing without keeping score is practice. But the projects you’re working on are all too real, so it’s critical that you take the pulse of the project frequently, and measure results along the way. This is the only way to make wise midstream corrections, stay on course, and ensure that you and your organization arrive at your destination in the shortest possible time and with the least possible expense.

Measuring progress, managing conflict, skillfully navigating change, and gracefully wrapping up are all part of bringing your project to a successful and profitable close.

The “Rules of Engagement”There are rules that every manager—and every consultant— would be wise to consider before embarking on a consulting project. I call them the Nine Rules of Engagement.

Rule 1: Outcome, outcome, outcome. Consultants generally get hired because they sell the outcome of the project, not the features or the benefits or the methodologies or the approaches. Now that work is beginning, make sure that everyone agrees with your clear and specific (and hopefully measurable) statement of outcomes. Make it explicit, and write it down. Kick off the first meeting by discussing it and gaining agreement.  

Chapter 5: Consultant as Change Agent, Advocate, and Mentor

PDF
Consultant as Change Agent, Advocate, and Mentor

Most consultants are expected to play several roles, including change agent, advocate, and mentor. Every consultant, however, is responsible for creating value above and beyond the “terms and conditions” of their consulting agreement. It’s up to you, as the manager, to get the most value you can from your consultant and to make sure that the consulting expertise doesn’t leave the building at the end of the project, but rather is transferred inside your organization in meaningful and lasting ways.

What Every Consultant Should Provide

Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just having enough dots to connect . . . connect experiences and synthesize new things.” Of course, a consultant should provide clear and actionable solutions to your immediate problems and challenges. But as a manager, you also need to extract all the “cross-pollination” value from your consultants as well. Ask them to connect the dots and work with both their vertical expertise and horizontal knowledge.  

Chapter 6: Consulting Dangers, Pitfalls, and Traps

PDF
Consulting Dangers,Pitfalls, and Traps

If there were such a thing as the “Professional Joke Olympics,” lawyers would win gold and consultants would win silver.

Why is consulting the #2 most jibed-at profession? Because of the many dangers, pitfalls, and traps that clients can fall victim to.However, with some forethought, preparation, and goodwill, you can avoid or work through many of these potential dangers. In this chapter, we’ll look at how to avoid making mistakes when using a consultant.

Don’t Accept “Cookie-Cutter” Work

Several large consulting companies have been publicly exposed over the past few years for their sloppy practices—for “working” over a period of months on a client problem, and then handing in an impressive-looking final report (for which they collected hefty fees) that turned out to be a word-for-word copy of something they prepared for somebody else on the same issue. It seems that in some cases, staff members forgot to change the names on all the pages! The consulting firms wound up with egg on their faces and with lawsuits. Wouldn’t it be better for the client (and far more interesting for the consultants) to look at the unique angles to each engagement and to come to each set of problems with a fresh perspective and very few pre-conceived notions? To actually improve the flesh-and-blood situation, rather than copyand-paste another 300-page report?  

Chapter 7: Evaluating Your Consultant’s Toolkit

PDF
Evaluating YourConsultant’s Toolkit

How do you know if you’re working with a good consultant or a great consultant? Often you don’t—until it’s too late. However, like working with a craftsman, there are signs at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the work that tell you whether or not you’re dealing with a true consulting professional. We’ll explore these in this chapter.

Ten Great QuestionsYour Consultant Should Ask You

Your consultant should have a good idea what is important to you and the organization, and what the organization has done to learn from its mistakes and make itself stronger, smarter, and more competitive. He or she should ask you questions like these:

What are you passionate about?
Are you being too cautious?
What is your dream for this organization?
How can I help you?
What five things can we do right now?
What have you learned from your success?
So what?
What’s the dumbest thing you could do?
Did today matter?
How will we know when we’re done?  

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000046070
Isbn
9781599963983
File size
550 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata