If you meet a consultant on the road, kill him
The title is a close adaptaion of a popular psychotherapy book from the seventies.
But that sentiment pretty much sums up the attitude most of us have towards that hallowed tribe.
But all consultants aren’t the same. And the angst is often a result of engaging with the wrong sort for your needs.
Here is a ready reckoner on consultants and how you can choose the one you need.
The Classic Professor
What they do best: Promise a reassuring connect between the text books and the real-world and rekindle hope that all business problems come with pre-set clean solutions that can be arrived at through logical deduction
You could go to them if /when: You believe professors were smarter than the students they taught
You can spot this variety when they say something like : “Let us take a deep look at the problem we are trying to address here …”
The Long-drawn conversation partner
What they do best: Provide a non-threatening alternative to work colleagues; with whom you can discuss business issues for hours on length without worrying about work not happening in the company as a result of it
You could go to them if /when: You don’t want to let the world (and your bosses) know that you believe nothing more can be done anyway
You can spot this variety when they say something like : “I was thinking over what we were discussing last week …”
The Effusive Cheer-Leader
What they do best: Jump and clap everytime you say something that leaves others cold, and laugh at all your jokes and repeat what you say to others with a lot more conviction that you had to begin with
You could go to them if /when: You feel the thoughts in your head could be better articulated by a chimpanzee on steroids
You can spot this variety when they say something like : “Now that’s a brilliant thought you have …”
The Good-looking wimp
What they do best: Look good doing nothing, thereby causing minimal harm
You could go to them if /when: You are forced to hire a consultant as it adds gravity to the organization or to satisfy an irate investor
You can spot this variety when they say something like : “Hmmmmm …” and smile prettily
The Suave slave-driver
What they do best: Drive superior performance by whipping everyone in the organization and squeezing the last drop of self-initiative out of the minions
You could go to them if /when: It finally dawns on you that your lazy employees are the key stumbling block between you and the pot of gold
You can spot this variety when they say something like : “I woud like to see what everyone is doing …”
The merciless Surgeon
What they do best: Keep their mouth shut and cut open the innards and start taking out the tumour with a steady hand
You could go to them if /when: Curing the ailment is more important than popping painkillers and ignoring the ulcer
You can spot this variety when they say – nothing.
Now a lot of clients who need surgery are probably stuck with a consultant.
Is it out of fear that surgery is painful?