Why use consultants

It’s a pretty basic question, but one that probably is not discussed enough. The most obvious reason is that they bring skills that are required in short bursts and to employ an experienced professional on a full time basis would impact significantly on the HR budget.

But there is more to it than that. The old phrase is you are only as good as your last job rings true with most consultants. They have to keep up to date with all new emerging guidelines and technologies. You tend to find the ambitious ones succeed and prosper, and those are the individuals you want on your team.

Today it’s easy to believe you can short circuit the system by using technology. As we all know there is an IPhone app or Google page for everything, but does anyone really believe that if you can use a Google teeth-whitening app on your photographs, you can call yourself a photo editor?

Its very simple yes the architect can put in the planning application forms and yes the Planning Consultant can brief local politicians. But what happens when it goes wrong?

Case in point when a well-known planning consultancy from the south-east was briefing a strategic planning committee and announced to all concerned that they had the support of the local community for their plans. To say the meeting fell flat is an understatement. Politicians were quick to point out that after limited consultation the statement was ridiculous.

Furthermore politicians in front of officers then recounted all the issues and problems connected to the scheme which could have been discussed privately, but were now thrown into the spotlight for all to discuss. No self-respecting engagement professional would have made such a sweeping statement.

The application was put back six months for further consultation and engagement, which cost additional fees and hugely extended the budget required.

Most organisations look to bring in a consultant where there is an issue of sufficient complexity to require a person specifically to handle that issue.

The most obvious case are lawyers and accountants who are instructed and retained for specific legal and financial reasons

Putting aside the warranty and personal indemnity issues the most significant reason to use a consultant with specific skills is to engage and manage a situation.

If you chose to try it yourself first in a DIY Form and if the results are not positive to then introduce a professional advisor is fraught with danger and cost.

Mistakes will have already been made and the paths chosen which will be difficult to change. The skill of any entrepreneur or manger is to identify the potential professional team that is required and bring them together as early as possible. Identifying the budget available and managing the work as it undertaken, ensuring that the milestones are achieved. Too many times the Internet gives the appearance that everything can be executed from a laptop. This is simply not the case the work becomes overwhelming and goals are missed and opportunities lost.