The Five Must-Have Traits of a Superstar Consultant
How to Identify the Best of the Best So You Can Turbocharge Your Team.
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
Nobody wants to be average, but by definition there are as many, if not more, mediocre consultants as there are superstars. As a client, it can be daunting to figure out which firms have the high-quality candidates, that when coupled with a rigorous approach, will drive the best solutions for your project.
As I approach the milestone of having spent 30 years in this industry, I have developed a good sense of what drives success for both the consultant and the projects they support. We’re always interested in what takes a consultant from mediocre to great.
So if we assume your consultant understands the technology or tool they are implementing, and they have a solid implementation approach or methodology, we have discovered that our most successful consultants all share the following traits.
A Business First Attitude
There is nothing more important than achieving a positive outcome for your business. It starts with process and ends with technology. If you find your consultant espousing the functions and features of a solution without a tie into the benefits for your business, they will not be able to bring you the best solutions. Find a consultant that knows how to turn the crank on your day-to-day activities and isn’t driven by how many bells and whistles they can incorporate.
Drive to the Detail
It often comes down to the right questions at the right time. A great consultant is persistent, energizes discussions and gets down and dirty with the process. A high-level framework will get you past the five-second elevator speech but it won’t bring you a comprehensive solution. You need someone that won’t just find you the most common or obvious solution; rather, someone that understands the intricacies of your business including all the issues, exceptions and challenges that must be resolved to bring you the best solution.
Both in business and in their personal life, the best consultants are consummate professionals. They are transparent and a team player, focusing on the success of the project as well as the success of your project stakeholders. You can put them in front of your most difficult end user or C-level executive and they will shine. Confidentiality and security of your processes and data are never in question. They are champions of your business, immerse themselves in its culture and strive to bring out the best in all your project contributors.
Know the Tools of Their Trade
The best consultants are wizards of communication, leveraging tools like PowerPoint, Word and Excel to effectively present complex concepts in a digestible form. It doesn’t matter how smart they are if they can’t effectively share that knowledge. Oral communication skills are important, but you need to institutionalize what is produced and that comes from project deliverables and documentation assets.
Flexibility and resourcefulness breed success—there is no single “right” way to do things. Business requirements drive the solution and a consultant that only knows one solution isn’t of much value. You want someone that will see opportunities to bring greater success, or find different and better ways to achieve the same result, and share them with you. They are inspired when you bring them challenges and ultimately it brings out the best in them.
At SCMO2, we are always looking for the best people so we can bring you the top consultants in the industry. Whatever your needs, whatever the timing, wherever they may be needed. We all want outcomes we can be proud of, and that can only be achieved by experienced, capable and competent staff that understands and delivers.