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Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Change Management Consultant

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The right fit can make or break your change initiative

If you've been thinking that Change Management consultants are flakes who spend all their time talking about 'feelings' and not enough time demonstrating a commitment to the bottom line, you're not alone.  But the truth is that the right change management expertise can make all the difference to a chance initiative.  They can help improve ROI, speed the pace of change, help you retain your top performers, and prevent the project from going off-track.

It's just a matter of partnering with the right consultant.

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Here's what you need to consider in order to choose the right consultant for your change initiative:

  1. Experience:  What changes have they implemented as part of an organization?  What changes have they experienced as an employee?  As a manager?  As a leader? Someone who has experienced change from a variety of perspectives is going to bring more understanding to your initiative.
  2. Who will actually be doing the work?  A senior consultant may be the one creating and overseeing the change plan, but delegating the actual work to specialists or juniors.  That's fine - but make sure you know who's on the team and how they'll be working together.
  3. Their role in the changes:  Change consultants can have experience in the technical, logistical or people components of change.  Be sure you know what component(s) you need, and look for someone with the right experience.
  4. Buzzwords vs results:  The best consultants are good at straightforward communications and outlining clear expectations.  If you're hearing a lot of terms like 'change agent' and 'transformation catalyst', call someone else.  Remember, a $25,000 diagram may look great in the boardroom, but isn't a guarantee of results.
  5. Approach:  Effective change management consultants ask good business questions and are looking to understand how all the pieces fit together before outlining a plan.  If they say they can just jump in and start delivering results, no questions asked, they may not have the skills you need.
  6. How many people will the consultant be bringing in?  An outside consultant may be able to bring clear vision and specialists to the table, but in order for a change to be successful, your internal employees should be fully engaged in the process.  Leaving change entirely to external consultants can mean the change leaves when they do.
  7. Pragmatism:  Good change management isn't about holding hands and singing folk songs with employees - it's about making smart business changes that ultimately lead to a better bottom line.  An effective change management consultant is one who knows that managing the people piece will drive business success.  That means demonstrating they understand the business and can balance the people side of things - if they only pay lip service to the people side, you'll have problems in the long run.  Remember:  People are your most important asset.
  8. What is their success rate?  Don't be afraid to ask. If they can't tell you it's higher than 98%, don't hire them.  It's that simple.
  9. Ask about their biggest failure - and how they turned it around.  Anyone who tells you they haven't had a failure is lying - and anyone who can't tell you how they fixed a big failure isn't ready to lead a change initiative.
  10. Does their process include a 'Lessons Learned' component?  It should.  Successful change management generates valuable knowledge and insight about the organizations, and it's important that this knowledge is articulated, documented, and transferred to the organization.  Otherwise all that knowledge just walks out the door along with the consultant at the end of the project.

 

 

 

Read 12741 times Last modified on Friday, 08 November 2013 05:09

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Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
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