Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Now that I have chosen the consultant to work with me and my organization, how do I introduce the consultant to my people?

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What a great question and one that is not to be taken lightly.  There are a few clear messages that you need to communicate:

  • You have carefully selected your consultant and share the clear objectives of the consulting relationship
  • You are committed to this relationship and expect everyone to fully cooperate with XYZ Consultants.
  • I expect you to share the good, bad and indifferent with the consulting firm even- if it is about me.  We can not reach our goals without solid information.
  • This is a process we will be going through will take some time, but you will be kept informed as to what is learned and what our next actions will be.

 

You are sharing that you have made a decision to have outside resource work with your company.  When you communicate the goals that you and your consultant have agreed to, why you went outside of the company and how you choose this firm is information, you will reduce the threat to the organization that normally accompanies the hiring of a consultant.  Sharing information is important, as you will have good, loyal, productive people who will be threatened if they do not understand the consultant’s role. At the same time, you may have some marginal producers who need to know you have made a decision and you are committed and determined to work closely with the consultant.

Now that we know the clear messages that you need to take to your company, let’s think about how, when and with whom the communication should take place.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who needs to know about my decision to hire a consultant first?
  • Who needs to have a personal meeting?
  • What groups need to know first? i.e. Management team or your support staff
  • Where and when can the consultant and I meet all of the company members in groups?

 

The consultant’s role, after being introduced, is to share the objectives of the engagement and what will be expected of the individual members in the group meeting. The owner’s role is to urge everyone to fully cooperate.  Finally, the individual company members charge is to share openly and honestly in their interactions with the consultant.  

The success of the consulting engagement is dependent upon the leadership by example where owners and top management display their support of the engagement from the day the consulting firm is introduced until the completion of the assignment.  Commitment has defined by time, effort and money.  The least important factor is money.  Think of breakfast comprised of bacon and eggs- the chicken was involved and the pig was committed!  Owners and all of the management team along with the consultant need to be “pigs”.  This is based on how I have handled my introduction as a consultant to client employees in a manner that reduces anxiety and gains support for the consulting project.  The process applies to all the people within the organization who will be involved with the consultant.  This paper illustrated a consulting project that involves the total organization.

Almost all projects go through bumps and unexpected.  The relationship of mutual trust and respect between the owner and the consultant is critical to the success of an organizational development project.  If you, as an owner, enter a project with doubt, it is much better to resolve this doubt before you begin the project.  Many organizationally based projects raise hope and morale- a failure of management to complete a project often puts the organization into a weaker state.

Share how you have successfully or unsuccessfully introduced consultants into your organization.  If you have a private question email bclinton@business-wise.com

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