What is the best way to take advantage of the benefits of consultants? – RetailWire


Sep 22, 2021

James Fulton, director of learning and global head of talent at Goldman Sachs, believes that the reason companies often don’t take full advantage of consultant retention is that they “oversimplify problems or under- estimate what it takes to create results ”while treating consultants“ as transactional suppliers ”.

In a column for Harvard business review, Mr. Fulton, a former external consultant, cited three strategies for benefiting from consultants:

  • Situation assessment: Companies are advised to fully assess their issues and the type of assistance required. “A lack of time, curiosity or even skill to fully understand the problem at hand” often leads managers to oversimplify problems. Companies also often rely on a small number of advisers whose strengths do not always match the problems.
  • A humble state of mind: Leaders can feel vulnerable when they ask for help. Mr. Fulton writes: “The use of aid requires a willingness to be helped. It is difficult to achieve if you are not open to learning.
  • Personal skills: Collaborations between managers and the team of consultants are necessary to generate results together. Mr. Fulton writes: “Using the help of others is a key leadership skill because no leader, especially in demanding and volatile times, can do it alone. “

Articles and blogs around hiring consultants cite the benefits of expertise and unbiased opinions. The disadvantages can include their often high cost, their availability, since they work with several clients, and a lack of guarantees.

In a 2017 Financial Time In this article, columnist John Gapper wrote that the rise of digital technology and data analytics has led to an increase in the use of consultants as businesses reinvent themselves.

He warned, however, that too much reliance on consultants or contractors can lead to “standard solutions” and mimic approaches. “The curse of consultants is that anyone can hire them, so their ideas quickly spread,” he wrote.

Short-term consultant hires can also extend into the longer term, as entrepreneurs promise additional benefits. “Consultants are attractive in a changing world of technology and regulation, as their growth shows. But it’s also wise for the buyer to be wary of what they’re offering, ”Gapper said.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you give to retailers and brands to make their investments in consultants profitable? What mistakes do consultants often make that undermine successful engagement?

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“My essential advice is to treat the consulting firm as a collaborative, non-transactional partner. “

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