Leadership Follies – Admit It, Your Baby Is Ugly

Reality Check

Leaders often struggle with admitting that their companies have flaws, as well as dealing with failure. How can leaders succeed in growing a strong efficient company if they don’t face their issues and make some changes? They can’t.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Dangerous Things to Do

Here are some really dangerous ways to spend your day…

  • Wrestle an alligator
  • Tell your spouse they really do look fat in that outfit
  • Admit that your baby is ugly
  • Honestly analyze your organization, admit it’s flaws, and put a plan together to work on those issues.

Although there are not many ways to deal with the first three, organizations have found an excellent method to help with the fourth; hiring management consultants.

Yes, that’s right I said it…

Hiring management consultants can be a good business practice and actually helps organizations succeed over time.

Why Hire Them?

Generally speaking, there are thousands, possibly millions, of highly intelligent and capable individuals that work within organizations. However, after a certain amount of time people get “relationship blind.”

Regardless of capability and intention, over time issues and concerns regarding our relationships or an organization tend to magnify if they are not dealt with a remedied.

Good management consultants help an organization shine light on areas of that aren’t working and help to fix them. These are usually areas that aren’t a surprise to the organization to learn about.

Yes, the solutions are things that may even have been discussed previously, but no action has been taken on them and things have gotten worse.

Enter the management consultant…

They are not all incompetent “Bobs” from Office Space (an excellent movie) or those shady characters from House of Lies.  Many management consultants are intelligent, hard working, and dedicated professionals that want to help their clients succeed.

They all allow for a purview into an organization that self-analysis does not.

What To Look For In a Consulting Partner?

There are numbers of excellent ways to find a consulting partner (find some great tools here). But, all of the processes boil down to some key things.

3 Key Selection Criteria that Will Make or Break a Good Consulting Relationship

1. Cultural Fit

The consultant is a good cultural fit with the organization.

It doesn’t really matter how smart or able the consultant is if they are the opposite of your organizational culture.  People won’t listen if the consultant is tone deaf to how the organization communicates.

Partner with someone that mirrors your organization’s style.

2. Flexibility

The consultant is willing to update or modify their approach tools to best align with the culture of the organization

One size fits all only works in fantasy.

All approaches need modifications to be a fit for …wait for it…your culture. Make sure that the consultant is willing to make changes to materials and approaches to ensure that folks will “hear” them.

3. Situational Experience

The consulting organization has a wealth of experience and experienced consultants that have lived through this situation, issue, or problem that your organization is facing.

If you are hiring a consultant to help you with a technology problem, it’s probably a good idea that they are technology savvy or have experience in IT .

Success for Consultants Now and Organizational Success In the Future

Contrary to popular belief, management consultants really want their clients to succeed for two reasons.

Reason Number One:

Many management consultants are passionate about making workplaces great.

Reason Number Two:

Great references. Those great references are former clients that are successful as a result of the management consultant’s work.

In fact, many really good management consultants want clients to be even more successful after they leave. That takes work both on the consultant and client’s part. As a client, it’s important that you pave the road for the management consultant to be successful.

  • Make their role visible.
  • Show leadership support.
  • Give them access to the information they need.
  • Encourage folks to be open with them.
  • Make sure they know the scope of their role.
  • Make sure that their recommendations come with implementation plans.

Don’t be afraid to end the relationship if its not working.

It is important that the organization gives enough time for the relationship to form. However it shouldn’t be too long.

Plan for the End

In the end of the project, the consultant will leave. It is important to ensure that you select a consultant that is setting your organization up to sustain the success of the project or initiative after they leave. 

It’s important that the consultant works with you to create practices and initiatives that enable or encourage organization to pull the change instead of it being something that’s a “bolt on” or “additional step to take”.

That will increase the likelihood that the work they do will be successful after they leave.

That’s a Wrap

Management consultants are very important to the success of an organization.

Consultants Provide:

  • An objective expert opinion about the progress or current situation of the organization.
  • Very real feedback about why the organization or department is not as successful as it could be.

What successes have you had working with management consultants? How are you using them? What are areas that you think an outside perspective could make all the difference? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Anil Saxena is a Senior Consultant and Business Partner with Coffman Organization
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (888) 999-0940 x-730

Image Sources: rock-n-code.com


2 responses to “Leadership Follies – Admit It, Your Baby Is Ugly

  1. Pingback: Leadership updates for 02/01/2012·

  2. Pingback: Leadership Follies: Know When to Quit « Linked 2 Leadership·

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