“Consultant” is a person who provides professional expertise on a particular subject matter to a client.The consultants are generally hired for a specific duration with key set of pre-defined objectives and deliverables.Consulting is one of the most sought after roles in B-school placements and has a high “brand equity” in the minds of MBA aspirants and students. But what exactly is consulting? I agree that a consultant is supposed to be a Subject Matter Expert (SME), but does he really know more about the client’s business than the client himself? If we consider the duration of a project as 6 months (normally most consulting projects are even shorter), how should a consultant go about his advisory role to not only understand his client’s business in a short duration but also improve and enhance its efficiency?
The client knows his business well, what he lacks is insights on where he is going wrong. This is normally the story with every entrepreneur or leader, who in his passion towards his venture, often overlooks the fallacies associated with it. It is here that the consultant steps in by presenting a neutral and unbiased picture to the client. As the consultant is commonly seeking to implement newer and more progressive ideas, it is imperative that the client not only understands and trusts his vision but it is also properly communicated as well. For instance, a client in petrochemical sector, rejected the IT solution that we had proposed saying he does not see any future in it. The same solution was accepted by the client after he realized that it was already in practice at its US offices and paying rich dividends for the firm. It was not the solution that had changed, just the mindset!