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Organizations Choose Office Furniture More Carefully Than Consultants

Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC®) announces its newest member and client survey, which shows, amazingly, that organizations are better equipped to choose office furniture, security services, and phone providers than they are consultants.

Alan Weiss, Ph.D., CEO of SAC, has asked members to cite their experiences and their clients' experiences in poor consultant selection. Their findings are amazingly consistent around the world.

Keith McLeod, of Tucson, AZ, member of the International Business Broker Association and recipient of their prestigious Tom West Award, notes:

  1. Consultants lack of access to the decision maker creates "insulation" between consultant and buyer.
  2. Decision makers are unaware of the consultant's body of work.

He goes on to point out that many key corporate decision makers will choose what food vendors to use but delegate consulting services acquisitions to much lower levels in the organization.

Geoff Kelly, CEO of Kelly Strategic Influence Pty, Ltd in Melbourne, Australia, has experienced "You get what you pay for. Those who buy consulting services solely on price find the best consultants working for their competitors. Smart executives go for value every time."

Backing these findings, Roberta Chinksy Matuson, Principal of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, MA says, "Companies look for the cheapest consultants they can find. This approach often leads to disaster. Instead, focus on value. A consultant who provides your organization with exceptional value is worth much more than one who simply fits into your budget."

Lisa Bing is the CEO of Bing Consulting Group, Inc. in Brooklyn. She finds impatience a major cause of not hiring the right person: "I observe a constant low grade impatience that undermines an accurate framing or defining of the issues at hand. Managers often overemphasize speed, focus on what seems obvious, and therefore look for solutions to the wrong problem which can lead to choosing the wrong consultant. The degree of openness and acceptance of a perspective different from their own is impacted by that executive's level of leadership maturity and self-confidence."

"Interestingly, we have found some companies are unsure which type of consultant's help they need most, so they make the decision-to not make a decision" says Gary Patterson, Trusted Advisor FiscalDoctor Inc. of Wellesley, MA. "That is merely a different version of selecting the wrong consultant."

"But consultants don't often help the process," notes Weiss. "Erin Ferree, Owner of elf deisgn in Belmont, CA, has found that "The two main problems that I see are: The buyer doesn't take the time to truly understand the solution the consultant's offering, and whether it will truly fill the needs. And, the consultant doesn't take the time to really understand the needs of the buyer, and whether their solution will create positive results."

Liz deClifford, CEO of deClifford International, Ltd. In Los Altos, CA, summarizes: "The client should determine the specific value needed. By choosing a consultant based on the specific needs of a company and the actual value of the service, companies will be able to hire a consultant wo will fit both the detailed objectives and the projected costs."

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