The highest-value work that we have done for clients has mostly involved defined projects completed by one of our experts. Project consulting with an independent consultant should be done when there is an insourcing knowledge gap and your organization can benefit from acquiring knowledge and expertise.
In this situation, leveraging the right independent consultant with a defined work scope is typically many times more valuable and less costly than hiring a traditional consulting firm. It is also far more productive than “going it alone” because in these situations organizations typically “don’t know what they don’t know”.
The two keys to successfully making project consulting with an independent consultant work effectively are:
- Engaging the right expert that really has the knowledge you need. Knowledge is a difficult thing to buy since, as a buyer without the targeted knowledge, it’s hard to evaluate if someone else has it. Additionally, the seller is reluctant to share their knowledge during the evaluation process because they will be giving it away for free. Engaging an intermediary that has had experience with many experts and can support knowledge evaluation in a confidential manner is extremely important to success.
- Scoping the effort. In these types of engagements, it’s critical to develop a scope of work with financial limits and with defined deliverables in place. Typically, both organizations and independent consultants are not highly skilled at doing this effectively and things break down into more of an interim situation which can result in being costly for clients. Additionally, while the knowledge is quite valuable, the time it takes for the expert to provide that knowledge is minimal; there is an art to negotiating an arrangement that is fair to both parties.
At M&A Executive Search & Consulting we have a specialization in projects like this and help clients advance difficult initiatives by engaging the right expert and help to scope the effort in a way that manages cost for the client. We have found that integrating knowledge to organizational teams in this way has had significant value impact for businesses.