Role of the Consultant # 4

From the point of view of some people in the client organization, the consultant is seen as a threat.  In these days of outsourcing, their jobs may be threatened.   Having a consultant doing some work may be an implied criticism of internal people.  None of these things may be true but these perceptions often exist in the client organization.  In order to be effective, these things are to be understood and handled. 

One thing that often surprised me was how much power the outside consultant was perceived to have by people in the organization.  This can help with the project or may hinder the effectiveness of the consultant.  The key is that these dynamic are always present and the consultant must learn to deal with them is a way that increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.

  1. Graham Boundy Reply

    The main reactions I have had when arriving at a new client site are one or more of the following:
    1) You’re the high paid expert. You tell us what we should do. — At the same time no one wants to spend time educating you about the problem.
    2) Here’s the latest expert. How long will he last? — usually occurs when your the 4th or 5th person they’ve had in to deal with the same problem.
    3) What’s your silver bullet?
    After you’ve reset expectations and everyone realizes you’re just a human being – not superman – you can get down to the business of solving problems and making progress.
    However, always realize you are a part of the consulting organization you represent and apart from the customer organization you are assisting.

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