Imagine being surrounded by smart, experienced people and working with clients who expect nothing but exceptionally high quality results from you – every time. Imagine working in an environment that supports professional and personal growth, while always challenging you to excel. I’m grateful that this is what I experience, every day, at Barrington.
Choosing a consulting firm is an important first step in your organization's pursuit of success. In the end, you'll only know you've chosen correctly by the results the firm brings.
But in the beginning, there are a few things that can serve as guidelines to finding the perfect match.
1) Choose an experienced firm.
Experience means your project will not be a 'guinea pig' for unproven strategies or tactics. It also means you'll be dealing with professionals who have been around the block enough times to know what challenges to expect, what pitfalls to avoid, and when it's appropriate to break the rules. It also means there will be solid thinking behind the approach, based on what works and what doesn't. Even if the firm's experience is not directly related to your organization's product or services, the best practices gleaned from actual experience will mean far fewer unknowns, and far more solid strategies.
2) Choose a well-referenced firm.
Like any client-service related industry, consulting firms can be judged on their previous clients. Of course, projects have ups and downs, but find out from previous clients how the 'ups' were achieved, and how the 'downs' were handled. Was the communication consistent? Did the client feel they had solid deliverables? Did they feel like the consulting firm listened to and understood them? These are the kinds of things that can make or break a relationship with a consulting firm – and any firm worth dealing with will be happy to provide a number of references for you to check.
3) Choose a firm you trust.
At the end of the day, the firm you choose will be helping you navigate through some complicated issues; many of which will be foreign to you. You need to know the consulting firm is working with your best long-term interests in mind. This is a hard thing to quantify. And it's why you need to do your homework with points 1 and 2. When you meet with prospective firms, ask questions, watch how the team interacts with each other. Ask employees how they like working there. Find out what projects the firm is most proud of.
Questions like these, and your general level of comfort with the team leaders, will ensure that you find a firm you trust, and ultimately, get the results you are looking for.