Bringing in an outsider with a fresh perspective can supercharge your business, writes Charlotte Gregson, MD of Comatch in the UK and Ireland, but the right consultant will offer much more than technical expertise
The well-worn buzzword “disruption” is everywhere, but is it always good for a business? When it comes to consulting, an external expert may be able to offer a client stellar advice, but there’s a risk that their presence in the organisation will also have a negative cultural impact. The most effective consultants slip smoothly in and out of an enterprise without disturbing its integrity or identity. With this in mind, here are four key qualities that you should seek in a consultant to ensure that they’ll leave your company boosted, yet undisrupted.
The best consultants are able to adapt quickly to unfamiliar environments and diverse organisational structures. Perhaps working at a large, city-based multinational one month and a small family firm at the other end of the country the next, they will demonstrate that they are resilient enough to deal with significant changes in working styles as they move from client to client.
Each individual has their own particular set of preferences and passions, so it’s impossible for a consultant to have the same relish for every opportunity. That said, it’s important for firms to seek out those who display a positive “no client too big, no project too small” attitude.
Companies need to ensure that the external experts they bring in possess not only the requisite technical knowledge, but also the professional integrity to match. Given the high value placed on corporate data, trust is a key commodity that comes at a premium. You wouldn’t want to risk your reputation and that of your organisation by hiring someone who’s lax with data security or prone to having indiscreet conversations with third parties about your business.
It’s crucial to take the so-called soft skills of consultants into account, so that you can choose the individual with the right cultural fit for your organisation. Businesses obviously value expertise, but they also want experts to embed their knowledge into the enterprise in a meaningful, human way.
Although leaving behind a successful piece of work is important, positively imprinting something into the company will add more value than, say, simply handing over a PowerPoint presentation. Respectfulness, affability and modesty are valuable traits in this regard. Consultants with these attributes are likely to have a more positive effect than those who remain aloof.
Ultimately, the soft skills required in consultancy are just as important as knowledge, if not more so. If the external experts you call on are able to bring these key qualities to your projects, they’re sure to make a lasting beneficial impact on your organisation.
Comatch’s consultant relations team knows the consultants in its network so well that it can place them according to their passions as well as their skills. Call 020 3457 0891, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit comatch.com for further information.