Mainly practiced 3 types of consultations. To determine them, it is most convenient to use the definitions from the book by Peter Block “The Ideal Consultant. Guide to the transfer of experience.
The first model is “diagnostic” or expert. The consultant appears in the company when it is necessary to solve a pressing problem, studies it and gives recommendations. He is given freedom of action, most often he becomes part of the management structure. The essence of this model is that the Chief Executive Officer admits that he is not sufficiently competent in one of the issues, puts himself in the hands of a consultant and waits for it to be done. The role of the manager is reduced to evaluating the result. The consultant “diagnoses and prescribes a medicine.”
The second model involves an appeal to the expert as an “extra pair of hands.” It is used in cases where the managers themselves have diagnosed themselves, they know the method of treatment, but they do not have enough time and energy for it. A consultant is needed for practical work. Namely, to perform certain tasks. He receives the task, and the control functions remain with the manager. The consultant is completely dependent on the accuracy of the diagnosis and the choice of means, because in case of failure, as a rule, the blame falls on the contractor.
Finally, there is a third model, involving the cooperation of both parties. In this case, the consultant enters into a certain relationship with the client, and the problem that has arisen is viewed not as a client’s problem, but as a common problem. Both parties are interested in its prompt decision and are looking for it together. This is the method of work of the Delta Consulting group, the least profitable for the consultant in terms of payment and therefore the least common. It requires a lot of time and effort. This is a teaching model, you share your knowledge and turn a student into a teacher.
Why do you need such counseling?
This question has been asked repeatedly, because many managers see a certain weakness in addressing the consultant. If a manager is so good that he managed to climb to the very top of the service ladder, why would he need the advice of a person from outside who was not familiar with the company’s activities?
The answer is simple. It is difficult to lead, and sometimes it is very difficult – and because of this, managers sometimes need help. But to ask for such help from their own subordinates is almost impossible. If the head of the company decided to proceed with the reorganization, help should be sought on the side. One of the leaders of the company А Т & Т once said that asking employees, for example, a telephone company to characterize their own organization, is the same as asking fish to characterize the sea. In order to see what any system is, you need to look at it from the side.
Another difficulty lies in the fact that any employee to whom the manager turns for advice judges the situation from his point of view – the point of view of the subordinate. Therefore, it is best to use the help of a consultant whose experience does not make the manager doubt. The director judges the current state of affairs based on his own experience, while the consultant is usually familiar with the experience of dozens of other companies. In addition, the director is helpful to know that others also have difficulties and troubles. The consultant knows which of the directors should be brought together so that they can exchange views and come to some decision.
Moreover, the presence of a consultant facilitates informed decisions. If the director shares the idea of reorganization with one of the top managers and he sees in it the opportunity to rise through the ranks, he will certainly say: “Great, when do we start?” will be in a very delicate situation. The head of the company is much safer to discuss their plans and intentions with a disinterested person who will keep everything he heard in secret.
It is also important that his own career as a consultant with the affairs of the company is not directly related. He needs only work. He is free – and therefore honest. The CEO does not report to anyone, in fact, even to the board of directors. He can use for this consultant.
For fruitful collaboration, the consultant and the director must trust each other. One of the main questions that worries the head of the company is: “How interested is this consultant in my business going well?” He should not doubt his honesty for a moment. Choosing a reliable consultant is just as important as an auto mechanic who doesn’t give you a bill for thirty parts when only two are faulty. The head of the company has no choice but to find an experienced and trustworthy consultant.
But one should not turn a consultant into a transfer link between a supervisor and subordinates. It is impossible for managers to think that if they told something to a consultant, then the head of the company would automatically find out about it. Let them come to him all by themselves. The manager must receive first-hand information.
In addition, the head should be satisfied with the company consultant. It is unlikely that anyone would want to spend time in the company of a person who does not like him. The consultant judges the quality of his work and by how much he was able to experience a personal interest in the success of the company.
However, there is a new danger. If the relationship becomes too friendly, the consultant, unwittingly trying to be pleasant, can begin to look at the situation through the eyes of the manager. And in this case, if he is always sincere, there is a danger of being out the door.
We can cite a curious example from the practice of consulting. One of the experts advised the head of the company who decided to reorganize it and who was stuck in the transformations, since the subordinates did not see him as a leader. Month after month, the consultant advised him to change leadership, but he still did not dare to dismiss someone. In the end, when he, looking again at the presented figures, said: “I need to think about it, let’s meet in a month,” the consultant replied: “No. We just lose time with you. We meet, talk, and you probably get the impression that things are moving, but this is not true at all. ”
Sometimes it is more honorable to refuse to work than to continue it. If the consultant is unable to influence decision making, it is better for him to leave.
Another leader wanted to appoint three people as his deputies at once, making them equal in rank. The consultant came to the conclusion that in this case it is a crazy idea, since all three cannot stand each other, hold different views and will fight with each other for the opportunity to move up the career ladder. At this work the consultant is over. The head of the company appointed himself three deputies who were engaged only in that they were pacing each other. In the end, the two left the company, and the worst remained. Consultants sometimes get straightforward, but it is necessary to take risks.
The essence of this story is that the head of the company should be ready to listen to impartial things. But some react like this: “You will not get any good from this consultant.” Perhaps, sometimes it may actually seem so, but the sincerity and impartiality of the work of the consultant lies.
What are the activities of a consultant working with the head of the company?
First, he pays a lot of time to direct communication with the manager. A few phone calls and faxing is not enough. Required monthly, pre-prepared meetings.
In addition, the consultant often and for a long time talking with senior and middle managers, figuring out the real situation. He does everything to be useful. Sometimes his efforts are almost invisible. Everything remains as before, but he continues to collect information persistently. Often he is met with distrust and fear, almost with hostility. It may take two or three years before the managers accept him in their environment, because, no matter how the head of the company trusts the consultant, he cannot make his subordinates feel the same to him.
The consultant should keep in mind that the relationship develops differently each time. You can not try to remake people, because it is not in your power. It is impossible to change a person who is over fifty, who has a lot of merit and who has achieved a lot in his life. We need to help him become stronger, but at the same time let him remain himself.
An equally important property of a good consultant is the ability to choose the right client. A consultant is only as good as a client’s affairs. It can not be better, worse – as much as necessary.