Naturally, the obvious way to avoid an unqualified or unengaged consulting firm is to seek out a large, established firm with a long, proven track record. This makes sense, right? The answer is a straightforward maybe…possibly.
Consulting is a multi-billion dollar industry and many companies have received good value for their investment in outside expertise. But business owners do need to validate a prospective consultant to ensure they can deliver the right expertise and provide input that will move their company forward positively. Many, not knowing how to qualify consultants that might be suitable default to using the large consulting firms; in their mind they are at least getting a firm that is proven in the industry.
However, if the business owner is uncomfortable in qualifying a consultant they probably also are not fully comfortable in setting the parameters of the assignment or defining the scope of the project, which leaves that decision to the large firm.
Many clients therefore are vulnerable to having the consulting firm dictate or influence greatly the scope, methodology, and outcomes. Then the clients get a full team arriving to do the analysis.
Concerning methodology, these large firms typically have developed cookie-cutter processes and templated diagnostic tools that, although can admittedly be effective, do not provide a nuanced approach to that particular client’s unique needs.
What a big consulting firm will invariably provide however, is a comprehensive report full of recommendations and no assistance in the implementation of such directives…which is pretty much where we started. Yet, while they won’t leave so much as an implementation guide, they also will not neglect to drop off a pretty hefty invoice for their trouble.
The owner is then left to his/her own devices to implement the recommendations.
Often, they will start full of enthusiasm only to get bogged down with employees that are not change willing or fearful of the agenda as it might affect their unique role.
Then the daily grind of the inevitable day-to-day matters of running the business will start to eat the owner’s time and the recommended changes go to the backburner to be ignored or revisited when the time is more appropriate – they never get revisited. Or there is an obstacle to the course of action, and then owner postpones problem solving and any decisions, the course of least resistance.
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