5 signs that you’ve hired the right consultant.
Chances are you’ve learned a few lessons the hard way in your chiropractic career. One you deserve to skip is the price of hiring the wrong consultant.
Selecting a consultant is easy. But choosing the right one for the results you want is a bit more complex, though perhaps not as difficult as it may seem. The key is in learning what drives a consultant to work toward your success.
For many business owners, the temptation to resolve office issues by cutting a check is as extreme as the issues that need fixing. Though the best consultants with the most experience are not free, it’s not money that motivates them.
Whether you seek advice on business expansion, growth, or change; help with hiring; or to reinvigorate your staff, the most effective consultants offer a mix of qualities that serve your interests first.
These five insights into the values of a sincere adviser aim to prevent the risk of having to let go of a bad hire before your problem is resolved.
With that in mind, your ideal consultant:
1. Lives for results.
Consultants, coaches, and trainers have a gift for giving direction. The best ones dispense advice in such a way that you want to follow their lead. That doesn’t mean you’ll like everything they say or want to hear all their observations. But it does mean that talented consultants will guide you through improvements—even in areas you’d rather leave in the shadows.
Regardless of the task at hand, great consultants live for and thrive on results. A consultant’s expertise is in helping clients achieve things they’ve not been able to do on their own or don’t wish to do on their own time.
This means they’ll help you overcome barriers, break through bad habits, and reach new levels of improvement if you’re willing to do the work. The more you do and the more you are prepared to achieve, the harder they will work for you.
A good consultant will hold you accountable, help you create goals, and design milestones of celebration into the coaching process. This in turn allows you to be equally energized by the results of your hard work as your adviser is.
2. Applies objectivity.
Whether the dilemma at hand involves tumultuous workplace dynamics, terrible employees, or that person who does just enough work to keep a job, a manager is usually too close to a problem to fix it. This is why a consultant is invaluable.
Good consultants see through a lens of objectivity. They haven’t worked in your practice, built it from the ground up, or made personal connections with your employees. An outsider has a fresh perspective on how things work—or don’t work—in your office.
That objectivity offers a narrow window of opportunity, and it closes over time as someone works with you. This is not a style difference, nor an issue of expertise, but a matter of putting new eyes on the same issues you long ago tuned out or chose to ignore. Consultants will naturally see solutions you don’t. Let them share their feedback if you want great results.
3. Wants to be a short-term partner.
Consulting is unlike therapy. The goal for the best consultants, with rare exception, is to go in, assess, address, and get out, rather than dragging out discussion of possible results for years.
This isn’t a cavalier mindset but rather a reflection of the limited time for which consultants know their objectivity will have its greatest value. The best ones know that their maximum contributions occur in the initial phases and lessen over time.
They also know that clients can experience varying degrees of project fatigue if the results take too long.
4. Is a walking vault.
If you hear specific comments about a consultant’s previous clients or details about a particular person they worked with, run away. Confidentiality is no laughing matter and the best consultants won’t need to sign a document to guarantee it.
Details of your practice’s inner workings are not for public consumption and you should have full confidence that the person with whom you share your most vulnerable business challenges will keep them private.
Anecdotes, examples, analogies, and hypothetical explanations are all helpful, but if you start hearing actual names, you’ll know you’re talking with someone who thinks confidentiality is a marketing slogan instead of a bedrock principle.
Many consultants struggle with marketing their services in light of their inability to share the names of people they’ve helped. Ensure their lips are sealed by asking for examples and gauging their response. Ask them for references, which should be expected, but don’t expect them to share specifics of their previous work.
5. Enhances your independence.
Unless you wish to hire a consultant as an employee, there will come a time when he or she has to back off and let you try managing the issues yourself. The ideal consultant will have a roll-up- your-sleeves mentality before turning over the reins to you.
The goal of a good consultant is to help you maintain the results you’ve both created, and not make you dependent on his or her services.
Consultants who are all show-and-tell might not value what happens when they are no longer paid to show up. The learner must work harder than the teacher. An expert adviser will make that easier for you.
If you’re considering hiring help in the form of a consultant or coach, review these suggestions, conduct your interviews, and then make your choice without thinking twice. The ideal consultant with the appropriate leadership skills, personality, and motivation to meet your needs is well worth finding.
MONICA WOFFORD, CSP is the CEO of Contagious Companies, an Orlando, Florida based training and consulting firm and a consultant in the chiropractic industry. She works with chiropractic practices, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and government industry leaders to develop their leadership skills. She can be contacted about training, coaching, or consulting at 866-382- 0121 or through contagiouscompanies.com.