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The 12 Steps of Consultants Synonymous


How to utilize a consultant to your best ability and theirs.

A consultant is a jerk from out of town with slides.
-- a CEO who prefers to remain unnamed (in case he needs to hire another consultant)

You need to get something done and you can't get it done from inside. Your only alternative seems to be to hire someone from the outside. Not exactly rocket science. So why are so many companies hesitant to hire that someone?

Perhaps because of the situation you're stuck in, you know you can't move forward without the help of an outside consultant. The consultant you may hire knows that you can't move forward without their help. And finally, they also know that you know you need them.

Add in the fear that they'll come in and make you aware of many more problems you have and it's enough to make you feel vulnerable, if not paranoid.

This feeling of vulnerability may explain why so many companies are hesitant to hire a consulting firm.

One CEO told me that he felt consultants were like vultures, hovering over their bared necks waiting for the opportunity to zoom in for the kill. As he put it: "We know that we need help from a consultant, but sometimes we are more concerned what they'll do to us than what they'll do for us."

Even though both can be painful, there's a significant difference between doing necessary damage control (and in many cases, helping with a turnaround) and further punishing an already struggling business.

If you're a CEO, you can avoid this feeling of vulnerability if you take steps to not only know what a consultant will do for you, but also how they'll do it.

To help this situation, I've worked with CEO and COO clients to create "The12 Steps of Consultants Synonymous."

I've named them after the12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Just as those 12 steps help keep alcoholics on track to recovery, these 12 steps help keep consultants on track and keeps them from giving in to their addiction of problem seeking outside the area you hired them for -- that can add up to fees that the company can ill afford.

These steps offer both CEOs, COOs, and consultants a road map of how to work with each other so that nobody is surprised down the road.

Hopefully these steps will help CEOs overcome their hesitation and avail themselves of help sooner than later. After all, an ounce of early necessary consultation is worth a pound of chapter 7s and 11s.
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