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Things Management Consultants ‘CANNOT’ Do

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October 2, 2020
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5 minutes
Leo Saini
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

If you’ve been in business for a while, it’s likely that at some point, you must have thought about bringing a management consultant on board to solve a business-related problem, or simply get an expert opinion on something.

Well, you’re right. Indeed, a management consultant can solve complex business problems. He can conduct rigorous analysis to give you a calculated and well-thought-out recommendation on a business decision.

They can smoothen the operations process, increase your revenue, help you merge with a bigger company, etc. If you find the right consultants, they can do all of this.

However, there are what they ‘cannot’ do. Let’s find out what they are.

Leak Confidential Information of Previous Clients

This happens more often than you’d think. “I just want to check your previous track record of success,” some business owners say when they’re trying to find the right consultants for their company. But instead of just ‘checking the track record’, they expect their potential consultant to share information that is too confidential. No, your consultant is not trying to hide something from you. There’s a thing called NDA in business and it’s really important that they obey it even after a consulting engagement ends with a client.

Top management consultants are at the top for a reason. It’s safe to trust them, even if they refuse to share some information that’s very private, such as the exact revenue of a previous client or their trade secrets. Even if you manage to find the best consultants in the market, and they are ready to violate non-disclosure agreements of previous clients, just remember that they can do it to you as well. A good management consultant will never leak a client’s confidential information—and that’s the way it should be.

In almost every profession - whether it's law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business - people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. - Hillary Clinton

Solve All Your Problems Single-Handedly

Sometimes, small to medium-sized business owners, who are fed up with the fact that they cannot solve a business problem internally, go on a hunt to find the best consultants. Then they expect the consultant to just figure it out and make things better in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

A consulting engagement is a team sport. You and your team might have to get involved with the consultant from time to time. For example, if you hire a consultant to improve your company’s internal operational process, your whole team will have to work alongside the consultant and be willing to change. Their cooperation will decide how fruitful the engagement turns out to be.

Also, it helps if the consultant gets a prompt response to emails and phone calls. Don’t worry, if you find the right consultants, they will handle the project with ease. But a little effort from the company’s side will be necessary at times.

Work Round the Clock Like a Robot

It’s true that top management consultants are known for working more hours than the average professional. But don’t forget that they’re humans too and have a life outside work. Be empathetic to their experience as they can have burnouts, too. The fact is, employees have fixed hours of work, usually eight hours a day. However, unless a consultant is charging by the hour, it’s likely that no one has to count the hours from a legal standpoint. But from a human perspective, a business owner should always be aware of their consultant’s well-being.

Even though they’re temporary, consultants should be treated like permanent employees and their job satisfaction must be a priority for business owners who hire them. Just because the consultant’s statement of work doesn’t mention a set number of work hours doesn’t mean an organization should squeeze out as much work as they can from the consultant.

It’s very easy to find the right consultants these days (thanks to freelance consultant platforms). But to ensure that your engagement is productive, you should refrain from treating a consultant like an ‘outsider’. Invite them to work-related dinners and company picnics. Or take any other necessary step to make them feel like a part of the permanent team.

Hold Your Hand and Make You Implement Their Recommendations

A consultant’s job begins with data hunting. After gathering all the relevant data by reaching into every nook and cranny, they’ll analyze it and give you a report on the findings. It could include something like: Statistics show that the top competitor of the company has opened three stores in London.

After all the findings are in place, a few amendments or collection of more data maybe required before the management consultant can provide you with the final recommendations. If you manage to find the best consultants using the right freelance consulting platform, they’ll provide you with concrete and actionable recommendations—not vague and confusing ones.

But here’s the catch: you’ll have to implement these recommendations yourself because a management consultant’s job ends with providing recommendations (unless specified otherwise in the statement of work). Sometimes, a management consultant’s recommendations end up somewhere in the company’s Google Drive and never get implemented. All that hard work and money spent on the engagement might get forgotten. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s the company’s decision-makers’ responsibility to ensure that the consultant’s recommendations are duly implemented on time. If this doesn’t happen, then it’s not the consultant’s fault at all.

Sometimes, groupthink, fear of change, or internal politics might hinder the implementation of a consultant’s recommendations. But this is something that companies need to overcome to ensure that they get the most out of a consulting engagement.

Rest Assured, They Will Still Exceed Your Expectations

If you find the right consultants, they will help you reach your goals without leaking any confidential information of a previous client. They’ll solve your problems even if they don’t always work 12-hour days. But sometimes, they’ll need some support from you and your team. And after the recommendations are made, it’s your duty to implement them.

Hiring a top freelance management consultant from a trustworthy online consulting platform can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make—given that you have reasonable expectations from the consultant and are willing to do your part.