​Jeffrey A. Steiger

Consultants: Too In to Be Out Enough To Be In

Consultants play a crucial role in helping companies cultivate, grow, or problem-solve. Now more than ever, organizational survival and expansion is dependent on anticipating markets and assessing internal hurdles and preparedness. Consultants can offer an invaluable outside perspective and see things that the day-to-day grind can obscure.

There are, however, limitations to this “outside eye”.Consultants who specialize in a likewise service or product of a company can be too close to the general business area to provide an untarnished perspective. Subject experts are often plagued by generalizations across markets that can make them myopic to the unique nuances of a company culture. Sometimes, shared assumptions are the exact barrier to an organization’s growth or ability to problem-solve!    

Likewise, time and money can be wasted on an outside person who doesn’t really understand the business, product or service. You can read an “Idiot’s Guide to Insurance”, but that doesn’t mean you get what it’s like to be an Underwriter in an insurance company. 

To add a final complication, just because a successful consultant model worked in one place, doesn’t mean it will translate to every place. 

At best, an unhelpful consultation does nothing, leaving the company as it was. At worse, it exacerbates problems.

CASE STUDY EXAMPLE: how companies and consultants can get it wrong