Former Public Adjuster Robert Taylor Explains How to Work Effectively with Consultants
Not every consultant hire is a success. And while poor results sometimes come from hiring mediocre consultants, many consultants note that clients aren’t always prepared to receive their services.
Former public adjuster Robert Taylor of Sanger, California, is an active business consultant based on the West Coast. As a consultant, Robert often knows on the first day whether or not his clients will be a success.
Some clients are unprepared for his arrival and unable to answer simple questions about why the company hired a consultant in the first place. Other clients meet Mr. Taylor with an agenda, a team, and a clear set of objectives. The latter client, Robert notes, is nearly always going to be a major success.
Reasons Why You May Need a Consultant
There are many times in business when leaders need temporary help to overcome a unique set of challenges. In those circumstances, a company may augment their staff by hiring freelancers or consultants.
Consultants are subject-matter experts on specific roles or processes within an organization, notes Robert Taylor, former public adjuster. As such, companies hire them to help the business address root problems, perform audits, complete a difficult transition, train staff, and more.
Consultants are outsiders, not employees. Many decision-makers view this outsider status as an asset, since consultants will not feel bound to emotions and politics within the organization. The most common scenario for contracting consultants is to break the gridlock or eliminate bottlenecks within the company.
Most consultants want to know right away: what are you hoping to accomplish?
The more specific that leaders are about their desired end state, the easier it will be for consultants to help. An organization’s mission and goals unify every department and business process. Without clarity on company goals, decision-makers will not be able to focus on what they do best or enjoy successful collaborations with the best consultants.
Experienced consultants like Robert Taylor, former public adjuster, understand how critical it is that leaders have specific goals. As such, a consultant’s first step is always to discuss those goals and build a plan to achieve those goals.
Robert Taylor Explains How to Get the Most Out of Consultants
Research the consultant ahead of time
Companies that choose their consultants carefully are better able to collaborate with them. Decision-makers should perform research and seek word-of-mouth recommendations from industry peers that they trust.
Have an agenda
Many consultants do more work than is necessary simply because clients are not prepared for their arrival. By contrast, clients that plan ahead and build a detailed agenda for the consultant will be able to keep costs low and still accomplish a great deal.
Establish expectations and the consultant’s workload first
Using the company mission and goals as a foundation, leaders must be able to clearly explain the problems that they are having and what they need from the consultant, says Robert Taylor, former public adjuster. Consultants want to help, but in order to do so, they need to know what is expected of them and where to focus their efforts.
Assign a point of contact or team for the consultant
As work is underway, the consultant will need help from people within the organization. That’s why successful clients often assign a point of contact or supply a small team to work directly with the consultant. This approach clarifies reporting procedures and supplies the consultant with the proper communication channels, says Robert Taylor, former public adjuster.
Pay attention to scope creep
Scope creep occurs when decision-makers keep adding tasks to the consultant’s agenda mid-project. Consultants are not cheap, and as a result, scope creep often results in invoices that are significantly higher than what clients expected. In general, careful planning and communication prevents scope creep and helps the consultant work more efficiently.