Choose your business consultant on performance, not size

“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”


You’ve probably heard that expression?

It has been around since the ‘70s. It has become ingrained in the mantra of many practitioners, quite unjustifiably. There’s plenty of options to consider, when procuring consultants for your business needs. Is biggest best? Is bigger right for you, and your business situation?

Let’s consider some points on how to choose the right business consultant for your business.


What does this saying mean?


In contemporary terms, it means that it’s a safe bet for a purchaser in an organisation, to contract the current giant brand in the market, for their needs. Because this is a myth, it also applies to other companies and services, not only IBM, and their former superior market position with enterprise computing hardware.  We’ll stick with the idea of how to choose a business consultant for your company.

The power of the statement came from earlier marketing tactics. It was known as FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. To overcome this FUD, you’d accept the proponent’s offer as superior, by removing your fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the process.

This fallacious argument is an example of an appeal to fear (ad baculum.)  It is a fallacy in which a person attempts to create support for an idea by attempting to increase fear towards an alternative.

The fallacy has the following form:

Either P or Q is true.

Q is frightening.

Therefore, P is true.

The argument is invalid. The appeal to emotion is used in exploiting existing fears to create support for the speaker’s proposal, namely P. Often the false dilemma fallacy is invoked, suggesting Q is the proposed idea’s sole alternative.


Why is it an observed behaviour?  


In short – fear.

Fear of making a firm decision. Fear of assessing and balancing risk and reward. Fear of having to manage complex processes to achieve an acceptable outcome. Fear of failing to meet unsubstantiated promises.

When considering which business consultant to engage for our operations, the purchaser has to imagine the consultant within thier business environment. Discussing how we do things around here. Describing  problems, challenges, incidents, targets, and actual performance. These issues are real. These issues may demonstrate that we might not be as efficient in our work, as we’d like to think. But most of all, we’re going to tell an outsider! This means we’re talking risk.

Those that opt for the ‘giant brand’ over smaller, often more specialised competitors, do so because they rarely feel that they are entitled, or willing, to take what may appear to be a ‘risky’ decision for their company. But here’s a small reality check – every decision one makes, has risk attached. Some more than others, if that’s obvious, or not.

So, what supports this type of averse behaviour? Culture, mostly.

If people work within a culture where performance measurement means only positive outcomes are acceptable, you will almost certainly see a risk-averse culture.

But if the culture accepts sub-optimal outcomes, as a growth and learning opportunity, you will see a much stronger, faster, productive environment.

The latter will also indicate the active presence of a more mature and supportive leadership behaviour. Let’s be clear, though, the limitations of sub-optimal performance are not infinite.


How do I choose a business consultant to suit our needs?


Quite simply, you have much choice in today’s globally connected market.

The belief that the giant brand is far superior to the smaller, more niched brand, has been disproven repeatedly in business over the past thirty years.  Larger organisations may have more resources and they may be able to deploy some of these resources to your purpose quicker, but are they more efficient or effective?

Here’s some genuine considerations that need to be addressed when choosing a business consultant:

  1. Does the large brand have the depth of knowledge available for your purposes, locally or within in your time constraint?
  2. Are you a client with sufficient buying power to attract their prime attention?
  3. Has the consultant had recent success in delivering the work you’re asking to be done?
  4. Are they easy to get on with?
  5. Does their size come with a bureaucracy you’re prepared to manage?

When choosing a consultant to help you with your business solutions, your first consideration should be performance, not size.

As you risk manage your outcomes, consider the effectiveness of your service-provider’s risk management performance in their recent history.


Keen to improve your situation?  


Within SER Solutions, Peter Crane and the team have spent over thirty years working with Tier One operating companies. They have assisted clients deliver efficient capital investments, reduce waste, improve performance, and increase investor confidence. Armed with practical experience in engineering services, capital planning, project delivery, construction management and strategic asset management to the infrastructure and resources sectors, Peter offers a unique insight into operational roadblocks – and how to fix them.  

If you are ready to discover effective business management and operational practices that may benefit the way you do business, why not schedule a discovery call with Peter and the team at SER Solutions today?  

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