I learned a long time ago not to try to be my own plumber.
When you are considering a major change to your organization, it is best not to try to be your own management consultant.
Consultants have been going through a rough patch because many organizations are driving these days with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake pedal.
Saving money by not hiring consultants is not good practice.
This happens in small organizations that figure they are too small to be able to afford a consultant. It happens in large organizations that have internal Business Improvement (BI) departments and figure they are self-sufficient.
There are three things you need to know about management consultants.
Firstly, the good ones start to prepare to leave the moment they arrive at a customer’s site. Most of these people have lives, just like the rest of us, and they feel 8AM to 10PM workdays are not the best way to spend one’s time. See http://wp.me/pzzpB-2E
Next, we have rates. If the rates seem “expensive”, remember that a good consultant does homework before going out on assignment, then there may be travel days to/from the customer site, followed by time back at the office writing up study reports. A two-day on-site assignment can actually end up taking 5-6 days of time. Do the math using 14 hour days and the rates do not look bad at all.
Finally, we have experience. I am sure you have met people with many years of experience only to discover that they actually have one year of experience replicated “n” times. Consultants take on assignments with multiple clients across multiple industries. They can not only bring fresh ideas to an organization, they can also prevent organizations from making decisions to go in directions others have tried to go and have failed.
All in all, most consultants give you excellent value for money.