In the West, senior executives frequently hire management consultants like Jim Tsokanos for their strategic advice. This advice can sometimes sound as if it’s simply restating the obvious, and it often comes at a high cost—which means that many people question why it’s necessary. Below are several reasons for executives to hire a management consultant.
Help With Unpopular Decisions
Executives often have to make difficult decisions, and hiring a consultant who supports the planned action can give an executive the credibility he or she needs to convince board members that it’s the right thing to do. An unpopular decision may be anything from entering a different market to freezing employees’ salaries, and a consultant can use their experience to make these decisions seem like a good idea.
Providing a Scapegoat
The help mentioned above comes with another benefit: It allows executives to distance themselves from choices that go horribly wrong. When an executive hires a consultant and things don’t go as planned, they can simply say they acted on the consultant’s advice. In some cases, this can help an executive save his or her position within the company.
If a consultant is only a rubber stamp and a scapegoat, they are of questionable value to a company. However, they serve other important functions as well. For example, a consultant can act as an unbiased third party. Because they do not work for the company as an employee, a consultant has no vested interest within the organization. This makes it easier for them to find problems and propose solutions without the fear of reprisal.
A Dedicated Focus
Companies often face a delicate balancing act between short- and long-term goals. In many cases, urgent issues and daily operations take priority over longer-term considerations. A consultant can help by working on specific issues that otherwise may not get the attention they need.
No one knows an industry or business quite like the owner. However, a senior consultant can function much as a doctor would. By diagnosing symptoms and recognizing patterns, they can find out where things are going wrong—and they can work with the executive to ensure that they go right.