Consultants help your business with specialty tasks, like implementing a technology system. That’s the preach for the choir who are reading this month’s column.

Management consultants work in more rarified air by helping you reform your business to grab opportunities and quickly see new up-and-coming ways to make money. You face an abundant list of opportunities. Picking the right one is the trick.

Coaching producers is popular today, but unless you change the business behaviors and ways of thinking of senior management, you merely rearrange deck chairs on a sinking boat.

A key to management consulting is that the consultant looks at all parts of your business. Just finding one weak link is highly valuable, because it is the chink in your armor. Fixing or changing out the weak link likely saves or makes you a lot of money. Specialty consultants cannot do that because of their myopic focus on their one area of expertise.

When I talk with managers these days, I hear a hint of benign surrender in their voice. Fact is these are the best of times for some and can be the best of times for your company, but you have to change your organization and your way of thinking. Sell what is profitable and dump the losers. Change the perception your prospects and customers have of you. 

Changing your culture sounds easy, but is hard to accomplish. The strange paradox is that managers do not want to change when the time to change is most opportune. On the flip side, managers do want to change when the time to change is least opportune. 

Management consulting outcomes

A good management consultant offers you objective advice and a path to greater prosperity. That may be the greatest value. You may not see the forest from the trees, but a perceptive management consultant who knows your business can. Remember, we are discussing the management of all moving parts or your organization and the requisite technology it takes to turn your staff into moneymaking machines. 

Let us examine the c-suite of your organization. Maybe that is you. Being alone does not, however, preclude you from executing big ideas. Your organization can run smoother, more efficient and limber like a chameleon that easily morphs to its background when its environment changes. You need to be that chameleon more today than any time in recent history. You and your competition face a business environment of vexing change. Invest in a management consultant who will reposition your organization to take advantage of change, while your competitors wallow in the slurry of uncertainty coming out of Washington and your state legislature.

I have provided advice to managers and have taken advice from consultants when needed. The collective years of that experience gave me a few bits of wisdom when choosing a management consultant to help me with my businesses. Look for the following qualities when hiring a management consultant:

  • Knowledge and experience in our business. Choose someone who has walked the talk.
  • Knowledge and experience in organizational behavior and design. Staffing and management techniques will be a big part of your take-home value.
  • Technology expertise, but no nerds. Technology is the efficacy part of your organization and it changes constantly.
  • Integrity. Even though you will have a contract, choose someone you feel you could deal with based on a handshake.
  • Track record. Know the consultant you choose or get references who will attest to the consultant’s track record of advice.
  • Interpersonal qualities. You will likely work very close at times with your consultant and for an extended period of time. You want a good warm and fuzzy.

As always, opine with your suggestions for the benefit of many.
Davidson, CEBS, is principal at Davidson Collective LLC and a management consultant to insurance brokers across the country. He is also on the faculty at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  Reach him at craigjdavidson@outlook.com.

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