A man walks into his doctor’s office and tells the doctor, “I’m having pain in my foot. So, I’m going to a number of doctors to get quotes on what it will cost me to have the foot removed. I’d like you to explain your process for amputation, give me a budget, and provide three references for whom you’ve performed this work in the past.
If I like what I see in your response, I will bring you in for an interview.”
Seems silly, right? Yet, it’s not too far removed from what many organizations are doing to address their own needs and in finding qualified business partners. The shortcomings are:
- The man presumes he has diagnosed his foot ailment correctly.
- Without any professional training or experience, he has prescribed but one among many possible solutions to the problem.
- He has not given his doctor any opportunity to perform tests, diagnose the problem, or present alternate solutions—perhaps far more effective than amputation.
- He has given the doctor little opportunity to distinguish his qualifications from his competitors, other than cost, process and past performance.
Such is the RFP Process [still today.]
Facilitators that charge an hourly rate are usually less experienced, but not always. Experienced consultants tend to prefer per-diem or project based pricing.
If you need a business partner, then consider what else is at stake in the factors that influence your decision. Below is a handy decision reference to help you decide WHEN and WHY to hire a consultant to assist your work.