If at First You Don't Succeed... Get Help.
Why would a company hire a consultant? A reasonable question that every leader should
explore for their organization. The primary currency of any consultant is experience so I'll share some of mine in the form of a true story.
Some time ago, I was selling a unique aircraft with a limited pool of potential buyers. I received a call from an interested buyer who wanted to see the airplane. We met and through casual conversation I learned that these folks were shopping for an aircraft to test and demonstrate their company’s technology. As it turns out, they used to have a similar aircraft, but it crashed, off-airport, due to fuel starvation. Hoist the red flag.
I asked a ton of questions and learned that after the accident the company was very wary of getting back into aircraft ownership. The buyers were engineers with no aviation operations experience. They had relied entirely on their first pilot with no formal oversight or operational policies. Make that red flag number 2.
I asked what they were doing differently this time around. Their response was telling mostly because they didn't have much of a response. They just didn’t know what they didn’t know. At the risk of mixing metaphors, strike 3.
Fast forward a couple of years and this company successfully acquired the aircraft, hired a well qualified Chief Pilot, and built a robust flight operations program with an emphasis on safety, accountability, and reliability. They undergo annual safety audits, keep better records than most certificated operators and have flown hundreds of flights without incident. This was made possible because they hired outside expertise to guide them through the process. Experience made this company receptive to getting some outside help and advice. Regrettably, it took an accident to get them there. The very definition of learning the hard way.
Consultants come in all shapes and sizes. Subject matter experts, change management specialist, leadership development, process improvement, just to name a few. What we offer is perspective, experience, and guidance to help our client organizations be more successful. A characteristic of good leadership is recognizing when some outside help is needed. The alternative is often a more difficult path with some hard and costly lessons learned along the way.