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New Year’s Resolution: Spend Less Money on Consultants

New Year’s Resolution: Spend Less Money on Consultants

One of my CFO clients recently asked his staff, “Why does everyone think I’m all about cutting costs?” Shortly after, he asked me whether I could reduce my rate. I said no.

But I do believe in helping my clients save money. So, in the spirit of the New Year, here are five signs that you’re wasting money on consulting:

1. Every time a question arises, you hear the same example. Again and again and again.

Great consultants have a broad area of expertise to draw on. But too many consultants learned how to do things one way and try to make every client do it the same way. Their 10 years of experience is really only six months repeated 20 times.

2. The phrase, “That’s not best practice,” starts to infiltrate your dreams.

This is something I warn all my employees about. What’s best practice in another company, or (even worse) in a book, is not necessarily best practice for the client in front of you. Too often, big consulting firms push “best practice” to cover their staff’s lack of experience or consulting ability.

3. They never ask, “Is this work worth the money your spending?”

I’m not an altruist. I’m happy to make money. But there are projects that just don’t make sense for certain clients. Or there are cheaper ways to get to the right result. And I tell them that.

When consultants jump at every idea that comes along, it’s an indication that they’re more interested in billing or ingratiating themselves with a software vendor. Only trust folks who say no.

4. They have drinks with your end users. Every week.

Consultants are expensive. And while it’s important, even critical, that your consultants get along with everyone in your organization, you shouldn’t pay them to hold the hand of every data entry person in your organization. Make sure your consultants don’t become high priced babysitters by:

  1. Implementing better formal training for users.
  2. Pushing your users to take ownership.
  3. Finding out the recurring problems and fixing them permanently.

5. You see more PowerPoint slides than actual progress.

I wrote about this idea before in my post “PPI—PowerPoint Productivity Index.” Generally, the more slides your consultants produce, the more likely your project will fail. Everything always works perfectly in PowerPoint. The reality is often an entirely different story.

What do you take as a sign of consulting money wasted?

 

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