We have been fortunate to work with many exceptional clients over the years. Here are some suggestions on how to build a positive relationship with a consultant:
- Collaborate on the hard work up front: It may sound simple or obvious but clarity is a cornerstone of any good relationship. Work with your consultant to get to a shared understanding of what you need from the consultant, and set clear expectations, deliverables, and timelines.
- Establish the management process: Ensure your consultant clearly understands your internal decision-making process, oversight and approvals. Our experience tells us that not defining this clearly at the outset usually leads to many people being involved. This inevitably causes unnecessary delays and creates confusion and frustration for both parties. A simple, but often difficult to answer, question to ask at the outset: Who ultimately decides and/or approves?
- Understand and respect the value: Consultants are typically hired to provide a service that you are unable to provide or complete in-house. This is often due to work overloads internally. Recognizing this and allowing the consultant to apply their expertise, skills, and experience to the project will result in better outcomes.
- Provide feedback: Good consultants regularly check performance with clients as part of their quality assurance program. It’s always valuable to the consultant for you to provide regular, honest feedback regarding your observations about how the work is being done. This will help ensure the outcomes you expect are achieved.
Building a positive relationship with a consultant helps make the work flow smoothly and get projects done well, on time, and within the budget. Tell us your top tip for working with consultants to create success!