Why Consultants have a Unique Advantage

As someone who believes wholeheartedly in the
concept of consulting (I do run a consultancy after all!), I have often found myself wondering what it is that consultants bring to the table. After some reflection, I think there are a number of advantages that can be very impactful when consultants are utilised in the right way, which actually saves time and costs in the longer run or can greatly accelerate the creation of value:

Fresh eyes
When you’re in the middle of the forest, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. When delivery has stalled or process and best practice have gone awry, it can be hard to take stock and continue to problem-solve when you are not only too close to the situation, but also looking at something overly-familiar. Repetition and proximity shapes what we see so it can be difficult to think differently in order to achieve resolution. 
When brought in mid-process or to help solve specific problem, consultants have the benefit of not only being able to see the issue with a fresh or different perspective, but also understand why it may have come about in the first place (strategy, operations and / or growth pains) and what can be done to address it. 
Hard truths
While communication should be a two-way street, it can be affected by a conflict in styles, power and hierarchy struggles and preconceived judgments about how something should be done or resolved. When in a period of difficulty, you need people that will put their head above the parapet and say what needs to be said, no matter how uncomfortable.
Telling hard truths can be difficult for people when their jobs or careers rely on maintaining positive perceptions and relationships, or when they’re junior and therefore in a position of vulnerability.  It’s easier to be completely honest and more direct when technically you can’t be fired and so consultants don’t tend to shy away from taking a risk and holding candid conversations when necessary. 
Wider view
Having visibility into several different clients and businesses can help to understand what good really looks like, or what other companies have done to solve similar problems. Even an organisation that is flourishing might not be able to identify areas of improvement because they haven’t seen what’s happening elsewhere. 
Consultants can do so much more than simply offering advice; they tend to have an enquiring mind and can think qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Being able to look at things holistically rather than just the surface-level complexities can be incredibly beneficial during things like organisational transformation and agile delivery. 
Moving between organisations and often sub-industries within tech regularly, means consultants are able to tap into a wealth of transferable knowledge, skills and expertise to ensure more efficient problem-solving, stronger and more cohesive leadership and better ways of working. 
So next time your business is facing difficulty or a change of course is required to enable growth and development, consider letting a consultant have a seat at the table. They might just be the answer you didn’t know you needed.

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