In the last few years the term “consultant” has seemingly become a negatively viewed job description. When one describes their job as a consultant it is generally viewed in one of two ways. Many people are now working in the so called ‘Gig Economy’ and call themselves a ‘consultant’ rather than an independent contractor. These are generally self-employed individuals either by choice or by circumstance. The second view is the older view of a professional consultant that now tends to be viewed as an expensive resource that many companies have chosen to cut out of budgets. They think of the large consulting firms who descend upon companies, take over projects, deliver fancy presentations and maximize billable hours with little value to show for it over time.
When I started my firm I wanted it to be different. First we focused on the services industry with the intent of promoting the value of customers. Second, our partners in the firm had years of direct hands on expertise with 25+ years of experience. This means they can roll up their sleeve and know how to make positive change happen and not just talk about it or research it to death. Third, we wanted to augment a firms resource not replace it. Our goal is to make sure that client firm gains the skills needed to be successful after we leave. Our value is that we can make improvements faster, cheaper and better than an organization that tries to make big changes happen by themselves. We save them money ultimately and help them make more money by creating a unique focus on customer success.
In this economy it is difficult for companies to engage outside resources because it is viewed as an expense rather than as an investment. On the other hand, companies often need a special skill but only for a short and defined timeframe. Most companies do not hire plumbers to be a full time employee just waiting for a leak. When that skill and expertise is needed they hire a plumber to do the work. They do not contract for a “plumbing consultant” (for more on this, read our blog “Rent n’ Exec” at www.servtrans.com/blog )
Today, when someone I do not know meets me and asks; “what do you do?” I simply respond that I coach, connect and co-create value for businesses. Our experts coach executives or employees on specific areas for improvement. We connect clients with the expert resources required to make improvements faster and we work side by side with clients to help create new value for their customers, shareholders and employees. This allows a client to purchase what they need, when they need it and can see more immediate value from the engagement.
So is, coaching, connecting and value co-creation a better definition or job description for consultants? Our team thinks so,what is your opinion?