This week I’d like to talk about choosing a change management consultant that’s right for you. There’s no such thing as one size fits all for consultants, so this step by step guide tells you where to look and what to ask to make sure you have the best possible experience.
Step 1: Decide You Really Need Change Management
The most important decision you make on your journey with a change management consultant is deciding if you really need one. There are a lot of reasons why you might think you need a consultant. But, are they the right reasons?
You need a change management consultant if:
- Your business expands and retracts instead of steady growth
- You can’t nail down exact processes for doing things
- Your team seems over-stressed or burdened
- The way you are doing things now is profitable but unsustainable
- You are concerned about leadership
You don’t need a change management consultant if:
- The business is having constant cash flow / revenue issues – You need new management
- Your business is steadily shrinking – You need a radical shift in the business model
- You can’t nail down your product or service – You need to rethink the entire business
A lot of folks that come to me think they can hire a change management consultant and fix their business. I’m afraid that’s just not true. Change management is for improving a business that is experiencing growing pains, not fixing something destined for failure.
Step 2: Choose A Change Management System
There are dozens of change management systems available to choose from. Some firms offer their own system while others work with an established system.
We like to use The Entrepreneurial Operating System®. I’ve been around the block a few times and I can smell hype about a mile away. I like the Entrepreneurial Operating System, because it’s the opposite of hype. There’s no promise of a magic wand for your business, no false hopes. Instead it’s a system of tools that will absolutely work if, and only if, you put the effort in.
Step 3: Identify Consultants Near You
How you find a change management consultant near you is really up to you. I recommend people take it in steps.
First, you need to compile a list of broad options. To do this, do a simple internet search to familiarize yourself with the options in your area. Next, speak with friends and colleagues. Ask them if they’ve gone through change management or worked with a consultant in the area. Finally, to finish of your list, you can look into some of these consultant listing websites.
- EOS Worldwide: There’s no such thing as one size fits all, but the Entrepreneurial Operating System comes darn close. Working with a coach in the system significantly improves results.
- Entrepreneurs Organization: I’m actually a sponsor of the Dallas EO chapter. It’s a great organization that helps small to mid size businesses by connecting them with mentors and coaches to that have been there before.
- Vistage: This is a fairly large group with chapters in many major cities. The mentoring program isn’t cheap, but people swear by it.
- Consulting Bench: if your company is big enough to foot the bill, Consulting Bench has a list of major consulting firms by area.
- Pro Finder: This is the LinkedIn associated hiring service.
- Others: CT, Graphite, and Consultants 500 are all great places to look if you just want to play the field.
Step 4: Find The Right Fit
Working with a change management consultant is usually a very intense process. Don’t hire someone based on their resume alone. Before you enter into an agreement with someone, do your diligence on the following:
- Is this person a good personality fit for you and your team?
- Does this person have a set process? Does that process fit your needs?
- What do this person’s former clients say?
- Can you afford this process (both time and money)?
The worst possible outcome is for you to get halfway through a change management process. It’s worse than not starting at all, really. These reasons are the most common ones people cite when tapping out half way through. Don’t let them happen to you.
Step 5: Hunker Down
It’s gonna be a long haul. Be ready to see this thing through. That means doing work that you are going to want to cut corners on, having some difficult conversations, and even (gasp) actually changing the way you do business.
But, if you can make it through all of this, you come out the other side with a healthier, happier business that is in a much better position to increase its market share.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.