I am a consultant. There. I said it. Although admission may be the first step toward recovery, I prefer to think of myself as a facilitator, coach, or business advisor, especially since in some circles being called a consultant can have the same feeling a being called a snake oil salesman – leaves you feeling a bit….. well… you know. It’s not that consultants aren’t needed – many organizations lack the expertise that consultants can bring to the table; it’s just that, many consultants simply point out issues management already knows exists and don’t present a viable plan for fixing the problem (unless it involves hiring them to fix it).
Having spent most of my career on the other side of the table (not as a consultant), I tend to have an appreciation, or skepticism of what benefit hiring a consultant will have. So, with that in mind, one thing I believe a consultant should never do is take credit for something they did not have any impact on. And, one thing that clients (especially those in the trenches) always complain about is consultants taking credit for things they had nothing to do with.
According to my sources, which I will not reveal, here is a perfect example:
A nearly billion dollar organization recently hired a consulting group to help them with a financial turnaround. The consultants presented a financial executive in the organization with a list of the benefits / improvements the consultants were responsible for. The executive was “advised” not to ask any questions about the items on the list, one of which was the IRS reduction in mileage reimbursement from $0.55 per mile to $0.50 per mile that was effective January 1, 2010. The executive could say nothing because the acting CEO of this organization is a member of the same consulting firm that prepared the list….
Wow! And we wonder why there’s skepticism…
Any stories like this you want to share? Comment it up!
Oh, the financial executive has since left the organization.