How to choose a consultant or external trainer
How open is the individual to listening first?
Maybe some of your problems can be solved by an “off the shelf” approach, but beware the expert with one cure for all ills.
What’s the consultant’s background?
Does the consultant have experience in your industry or with the specific kinds of problems you’re facing? If not, do you believe that the person has enough creativity and resources to be effective in a new situation?
How does the consultant operate?
Do you meet and talk directly with the people who will do the work, or with someone else? Are you charged for travel, materials, or for the initial discussions? Can schedule adjustments be made? Does the proposal or contract specify everything you need to know? It should include objectives, constraints, schedule, key personnel, costs, and what follow up or evaluation of the project will be made. Remember, your staff will have to cooperate; the consultant or external trainer can’t work in a vacuum.
How to use a consultant
A management consultant is a business professional who can help your organization solve problems of many kinds. Some may be one time projects such as buying a computer or designing a new product. Or, they may be ongoing efforts which require only a few days or hours per month.
Perhaps your own people don’t have the experience or time to resolve these problems. Perhaps you need an outside opinion to help clarify organizational objectives, confirm or challenge internal staff opinions, or provide an unbiased perspective.
Using a consultant may be a much more practical approach than hiring permanent, specialized employees to deal with unique organizational problems or training needs.