Are You a Consultant or a Concierge?


Consultants are increasingly becoming indispensible assets for organizations striving to maintain relevance in a world increasingly being driven with ubiquitous Digital technologies.  The incessant demands of dividend-hungry shareholders coupled with vagaries of jittery customers have gravitated mindful companies towards risk-mitigation practices, especially, in terms of prioritizing strategic imperatives for quicker profitable returns, streamlining business processes to maximize operational efficiencies and refining talent management practices for optimizing human capital.

Consequently, most expense-intensive/non-value added/minimum-valued-added functions are being actively outsourced to willing consultants who are happy to oblige in fulfilling organizational demands.  However, such delegation comes with a price since significant number of consultants end up being ‘curative addictions’, rather than, ‘galvanizing enablers’ for resuscitative purposes.

This has a detrimental impact on both sides since such an association generally leads to stunted growth in increasingly dependent corporate entities and complacency on account of consultants due to the perceived efficacy of relying on a limited skill set to get the job done.  However, this deterioration in professional prowess is usually masked by the lure of getting ‘hired help’ at a perceived lower cost from the organization’s point of view, while, the consultant is comforted by the thought of getting ‘consistent business’ for earning a sustainable livelihood.

Interestingly, beyond the façade of the glamour, glitter and galore of professional credentials, such a penchant for routine ‘dogmatic consultancy’ bears strong resemblance to the steadfast approach expected from a ‘well-conditioned’ concierge.

Basic functions of an Astute Consultant

  1. Understand why a client has chosen you as a consultant and work on building upon those magnetizing qualities
  2. Refrain from conventional ‘hand-holding’ and facilitate ‘innovative experimentation’ to engender trust and confidence of learning from failures and celebrating justified ownership of success
  3. Study client’s present and future challenges and collaborate on developing a robust and effective solution that is aligned with the strategic imperatives
  4. Venture beyond the client’s industry and research disruptive innovations that have the potential to radically impact the client’s business and advise on proactively safeguarding long-term relevance
  5. Harness the attainable resources, professional networks and fruitful associations to become the ‘ultimate galvanizing enabler’ and convert formal business relationships into informal affable friendships
  6. Inculcate a problem-solving mindset in the client organization as part of the consultative process to minimize energy-sapping engagements on non-valued-added/minimum-value-added concerns
  7. Proactively install ‘alarm bells’ within the project parameters/milestones/KRAs/KPIs to address any emerging concerns at the earliest possibility without waiting for their formulation into stinging complaints or sobering feedbacks

Being a consultant is not just about providing quality services to clients; it is also about growing as a sound professional through a process of honest self-reflection and effective re-calibration.  No human can be the comprehensive repository of all existing and emerging knowledge, therefore, there is always a dynamic need to keep the doors of learning open and allow the permeation of new lessons to become a true master of the consultancy profession.  Shall I enter?

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