Why pay for outside help?

Creating synergy between an internal team and an external consultant – a winning strategy!

Your board of directors engages an external consultant. You wonder about the added value, what this person will contribute, and what is a fair price to pay them. Here are some answers.

A few years ago, I was confronted with an attempted mutiny by an IT manager. His bone of contention was that with the money set aside for my assignment as project director, he could have one or two more developers working for him. Fortunately, the company’s management team clearly understood the value of a project director and the revolt was nipped in the bud. What is interesting about this experience is that once the project was delivered, this same IT manager sent me a note saying: “I know I made life tough for you at the beginning, but today I recognize that we would not have succeeded without you.”

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself” – Galileo

In a world of “soft” skills, defining the value of an external advisor is a difficult exercise, especially when mentoring, coaching, leading a group, managing people or managing projects.

What do these fields have in common? The expert is there to help individuals achieve a goal. These experts know all too well that if a horse can be brought to water, it cannot be made to drink. Experts must therefore make sure that they create a dynamic that will prompt the group or the individuals within it to achieve results. If the work is done properly, having an expert at hand will serve as a catalyst. And often, this contribution is overlooked.

We all know the wisecrack: “A consultant is someone who asks your watch to tell you the time”. And yes, sometimes this is the impression that they give. But in fact, without the consultant, you would still be left wondering what the time is! Consultants are catalysts, triggering a reaction by being there and getting people to think along the right lines.