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Evan Davis on... consultants

Updated Thursday, 18th June 2009

They're not universally adored, but The Bottom Line presenter Evan Davis offers some words in defence of consultants.

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Consultants, management consultants in particular, are often maligned aren’t they? People complain about them, grumble about how much they cost. They make jokes about them.

Well let me give you a defence of consultants.

In many ways companies are used to hiring in things from outside, from caterers to cleaners, why not management services, expert advice, it makes absolute sense.

But there is a problem with consultants I will grant you, and the problem is this: that often the best service they can provide is tell the management what the management doesn’t want to hear. That doesn’t apply to caterers and cleaners but it does to consultants, and to make the value of a consultant worth something, I think it’s the management being receptive to hearing what they don’t want to hear.

If a manager only employs the consultants who tell them stuff that effectively confirms the point of view that the company already has, it’s not doing much good. The role of the consultant is to bring in that independent, external perspective that can’t be found in-house.

Well that’s my view, that’s one view, but you can join in the debate with the Open University.





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