What is a consultant?

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What is a consultant? We use the term carefully.

You would think from the word that it is somebody one consults for advice and ideas, or expert answers, as in a consulting engineer, or a movie subject matter consultant, or a GP doctor.

That implies it is not somebody one hires to actually do the job, such as a project engineer, or a movie wardrobe designer, or a surgeon.

In the fields of business and management, somehow “consultant” has come to mean any highly paid person hired temporarily from outside the organisation.

At Teal Unicorn, we use the term “consultant” in its more specific sense, and prefer to refer to those who get hired to get the job done as contractors.

Or if people insist on saying “consultant”, we distinguish between Advisory Consulting and Delivery Consulting.

We are advisory consultants. We don’t presume to know the answers for your business. Nobody knows until we experiment, but those most likely to come up with good experimental hypothesis are those actually doing the work.

And we certainly don’t execute the change within your organisation. That would mean doing change *to* people, not necessarily with their engagement, and usually results in poor knowledge transfer.

Stop paying “consultants” to sprinkle white ringbinders around your organisation and run away. Instead, truly consult with somebody who knows how to facilitate collaboration and experimentation to find the answers within the real experts: those who do the work in your organisation.