Getting The Most From Your Consulting Dollars – Will They Put Themselves Out of a Job?

When introducing this series of posts on Getting the Most From Your Consulting Dollars we mentioned that the primary reason to engage a consultant / contract resource (or team of resources) is to cost effectively obtain access to a particular set of skills that are only needed on a temporary basis to complete a project and/or fill a void until a highly qualified, permanent employee is hired.

The key operators here are:

  • Cost Effective
  • Particular Skill Set
  • Temporary

Since we’ve touched upon the first 2 topics above, we will now begin covering one of the most important aspects: the TEMPORARY nature of engaging consulting resources.

Senior Management – Realize, that once you’ve let “many” consulting firms in the door they do NOT want to leave. In fact, they will do everything possible to continue to extend the engagement (or engagements). And, more often than not, your employees are happy to let theses resources continue to “help out.” Even, when they could do the job themselves.

This is not something we let happen to Customer Centricity clients. In this and the next post we’ll cover just a couple of examples of how we fulfill our “temporary” nature.

Example 1…

There have been numerous occasions when we have been engaged to drive a key project to successful completion (i.e., CRM or ERP upgrade or implementation, post acquisition whole-company integration, product launch, process improvement, etc.). And, as the project is nearing its end the client asks us to take on a related / follow-on project (or projects) which we are happy to do. After this cycle has continued a couple of times we’ve often made the observation that we are becoming (or have become) a fixture in the organization. That is, a key go to / “production” resource for a certain set of tasks and activities.

It is at this point that we have a conversation with the senior manager who sponsored our engagement at the firm. And, we share the following:

  1. We are being asked to facilitate (or are now facilitating) day-to-day tasks and activities that are core to the “production operation” / business processes of your organization.
  2. Since we are only “temporary” resources a ton of subject-matter-expertise is going to one day walk out the door, when the engagement is finally concluded.
  3. You can clearly facilitate these particular tasks more cost effectively with your internal resources.
  4. Let’s engineer the handoff of these duties to your very capable employee(s).

In summary, our goal is to put ourselves out of a job.

Really!

Why do we do this?

Well, for a few reasons:

  1. Most importantly, it is in our clients’ best interests (to minimize their spend on external resources as well as develop key subject-matter-expertise that remains with the firm for the longterm).
  2. More selfishly…We freelance consultants went into this field of work so that we wouldn’t become bored doing the same ole, same ole thing over and over and over again – at the same company. In summary, we like (actually, thrive on) change!
  3. And, finally, because our network of clients (numerous people who move, over time, from company A to company B to company Z) call on us repeatedly to solve their latest problem. This results from the fact that they know we get in, perform the necessary surgical action(s) and then – get out!

In closing, if you want to ensure that you get the most from your consulting dollars it is important to define specific parameters on when to cut these resources loose. And, it is particularly beneficial when the consulting firm you engage is geared towards putting themselves out of a job (and getting their hands out of your pockets).

Do the firms you work with do that? If not, it may be time to consider alternatives…

All the best!

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