8 Signs You Are Ready to Hire a Consultant
Following my post in 2016, 8 Signs You Shouldn't Hire a Consultant, I received several requests to share tips on how to know when you are ready to hire a consultant. My initial thought was—the opposite of what was in the article! Since then, I've come up with a few new tips to help assess whether you are ready to hire a consultant.
You feel you would benefit from and want a fresh, less-biased viewpoint. Consultants can offer new insights less influenced by internal politics and personal relationships.
You need a person with specific expertise that you don't have internally and/or you don't need that expertise permanently. If you have seasonally busy times, consultants can be a cost-effective way to increase your capacity.
You are working on closing the gap between needing a permanent employee and being able to afford one. In this instance, you need to be careful that you don't cross the legal line between employee and consultant.
You've had success with consultants in the past and have implemented many of their recommendations. This is a good indication that you know how to communicate productively with a consultant and you are committed to dedicating the resources necessary to making the engagement work.
You are very clear on the skills and expertise you are seeking. This is a variation of "If you don't know where you are going, it's impossible to know when you get there." You and your consultant need some guidelines by which to measure success. This is a shared responsibility with the consultant who should be equally vested in ensuring that they are the right person for the job.
You are prepared to be vulnerable. This means sharing all relevant, sometimes sensitive information with the consultant, admitting weaknesses and mistakes, and doing your best not to take recommendations personally.
You are ready to accept that difficult changes may be necessary. A good consultant guides you through reasonable steps to accomplish even difficult goals. If it were easy or obvious, you probably would have done it already!
You are ready to admit to yourself and the powers-that-be that you don't have all the answers. If you only want to hire a consultant to validate your decisions, and aren't prepared for her to respectfully disagree with you, hiring a consultant is a waste of your financial and human resources...
Which inspires an idea for my next post: How to Interview a Potential Consultant.