Wikipedia’s definition of a consultant states; “from the Latin consultare means “to discuss”, from which we also derive words such as consul and counsel, and is a professional who provides advice in a particular area of expertise“.
A Swedish friend of mine’s father likes to refer to consultants as “animals that have been neutered, because they have the “tools” but don’t know what to do with them”.
I’m sure that a long time before I started to exert my profession, the profession itself was much more than just “giving advice”. That it was actually about someone coming into your organization, rolling up their sleeves, and standing toe-to-toe with you as you faced your, at times, seemingly insurmountable challenges. That latter image is NOT what I’ve seen for the past two decades and therefore why I often become uneasy when I’m referred to as a “consultant”.
Much like “coaching”, the term “consultant” has been used and abused in so many circumstances, typically taking advantage of clients in desperate situations, or larger organizations looking for someone else to make the decisions they’re too afraid to make themselves.
Now allow me to introduce you to “Winston Wolf”, the “Non-Consultant Consultant”, the guy who solves problems! Now that’s what I’m talking about, that’s what I’m passionate about, and that’s what I believe clients should be paying for; “solving problems“.
The non-consultant consultant takes on an assignment, bringing to the table years of proven experience as a senior executive in some of the most challenging circumstances. He’s not fresh out of an MBA loaded with someone else’s case studies , nor is he theory heavy & practical results light. He rolls up his sleeves & stands shoulder to shoulder with his client fixing problems & creating new opportunities along the way. He’s the first one into the office & one of the last to leave!
At times, clients may find themselves in challenging situations, economically challenged to pay our fees, and that’s when the non-consultant consultant agrees with them “what success looks like as a consequence of their engagement“. Following which they schedule partially guaranteed fees, with the remaining payout ONLY taking place in-lieu of the agreed successful outcome.
Now that really makes the client feel you’re taking just as many risks as they are, taking ownership for your proposed solutions, that you personally implement, or over see, and when they experience the joy of achievement, it becomes a mutual celebration!
Another characteristic of the non-consultant consultants’ engagements are that they ingrain themselves so much into the fabric of their clients’ workforce, empowering as many of them as possible, passing along knowledge & practical experience as is relevant to their specific situations. In doing so, they’re quickly adopted as “one of the team” & no longer seen as an “outside consultant”. The ensuing trust that is deposited allows for greater results in a shorter period of time.
Finally, irregardless of the specifics of the assignment, the non-consultant consultant works for their clients as if it were their own company, vigilant & attentive to provide additional value in areas outside of their direct intervention, thus creating significant collateral benefit without ever asking for an additional cent!
Key outcomes of the delicate art of consulting:
- Problems Solved
- Opportunities Created
- Shared Risk / Shared Reward
- Practical Hands-on Experience
- Effective Results
How does that sound to you?