In a previous posting on this blog, I listed some attributes of a good consultant. I shared the list with a young engineer who has worked in the trenches of a construction site, in the offices of a prestigious consultant, and who is now working for a large mining company. In their role with the mining company, they retain and manage many consultants. Their comments on this list included the following:
- That is a great list, but it is hard to find many consultants of such ability.
- If you find such skilled consultants, they are inevitably very busy and need to rely on many juniors of lesser skills.
- Any rate, even the best consultant, if not properly managed, does not succeed.
- Select your consultants carefully and then meet with them often, listen to what they advise, and give them detailed direction.
- You must integrate their advice into the bigger picture; for they cannot possibly have the full picture of the entire project and company prospective.
- It is necessary to rapidly read any documents from your consultant and to comment in detail thereon. They are entitled to rely on your application, input, and perspective.
- You must seek to learn from your consultant, and seek to give them opportunities to learn from you.
- If both you and your consultant learn from the project, you may both go forward to the next project and greater productivity and success.
These are smart observations. As a consultant seeking to provide services to a client, you cannot always select your client, but maybe you can exhort them to these ways of managing you.