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What Consultants Want You to Know (But You Never Ask)

I've been both a CEO and a consultant, so I've seen from both perspectives what goes right and what goes wrong when a consultant comes in to a company. Generally the CEO or the manager who hires the consultant tells the consultant what he or she wants. Often the manager is frustrated with something that is happening at the company and expects the consultant will have the expertise to "just fix it". While the manager needs to set the expectations, of course, the consultant rarely gets to voice what he or she knows would make the consulting engagement more successful for both.

Here is what your consultant would love to tell you about making him or her successful working on your behalf:

1. Please Do Your Homework before I Come In

Too many owners and managers hire a consultant and then stop thinking. They present a list of general problems and expect the expert to conjure dramatic results. This approach almost always ends in frustration and many, many billable hours.

Instead, you have to take the initiative and stay involved. Discuss your needs, problems, and parameters in candid terms from the start. Set a budget or schedule upfront for each project a consultant tackles. Save your skepticism (or your staff's) for the interview process; once you've chosen a consultant, give him or her the benefit of everything you know and access to all important information.

One of the biggest costs in hiring outside expertise is bringing the consultant up to speed on your company's operations. If you can prepare reports and numbers internally, you can help the consultant stay away from data gathering and other basic reporting functions; keep the consultant focused on analysis. You can tabulate numbers yourself; you've hired the expert to help you move forward from there. When you hire consultants, keep in mind that their most important skill should be critical analysis and problem solving.

Another point to consider is that many consultants have a steep sort of half life as to enthusiasm for a project. They are consultants because they like variety. In other words, their best thoughts and greatest creativity come early in their relationships with clients. Being prepared from the start allows you to take full advantage of short attention spans.

2. Please let me stay focused on what I came in for and keep the distractions and new requests to a minimum if you want me to stay within your original budget (or expand the budget).

A consultant's expertise is so welcome in certain environments that they number of projects multiplies beyond the hiring manager's original intent, but often with their knowledge. The original project may be just the tip of the iceberg of problems within a company, some of which are best solved by a consultant but many of which are best hired within the company after working with the consultant to develop a plan.

Like any outside contractor or vendor, consultant services are a commodity-and consultants want to sell as much of this commodity over as long a time as they can. That's their understandable inclination as business people. However, it's your understandable inclination as an owner or manager to minimize the amount you pay them.

The consultant may be right to say there aren't quick fixes to serious problems, but don't let that lead to open-ended engagements. Most consultants agree that restructuring involves two phases: a design phase, in which new ways of doing work are fashioned, and an implementation phase, in which the new ways of doing work actually are put in place. Have the consultant schedule these phases. This helps set up an exit strategy for the consultant, which is an important cost control tool. In addition, the consultant will see the project as a limited engagement, rather than open ended.

3. Please set regular times to meet so that I have access to the person who hired me to get clarifications and not waste your time (and not waste my time).

Set regular times to meet (weekly or monthly) when the consultant will review conclusions, answer questions, and challenge you on better ways to run your business.

Make sure these are working meetings. Avoid meetings that turn into administrative updates. By meeting with the consultant regularly, you can compartmentalize-and better control-the amount of time you spend with him or her. It also forces the consultant to be succinct and not draw on too much of your time. In this context, you can expect more from a consultant than from an employee. The consultant's attention should focus squarely on problems you're paying him or her to consider, not on operational details.

Remember that you are paying bigger dollar amounts for this help, so you don't want a consultant to be billing you for time in your office unless you are using that time wisely. Too many times employees don't understand how a consulting arrangement works ? they want the consultant to be available to them during their working hours. Consultants shouldn't be at your company every day where they can be distracted. They should only be there in order to meet with other people. Otherwise, they need to be doing their analysis in the peace and quiet of their own offices. 4. Please Don't Kill the Messenger

The manager or CEO who hired the consultant may be very excited at the beginning of working together and feel like he or she just unloaded their burden onto some capable shoulders. Then the consultant prepares an analysis and the recommendations all rely on additional work to be done by managers and employees inside the company. The recommendations may also involve actions that aren't fun to carry out, such as demoting or terminating non-performing employees. They may call for additional reports or extra meetings. Expect that the consultant will come to some conclusions you won't like immediately, but they may be the only way to end some long-term problems.

In conclusion, when you keep consultants disciplined and focused, you can use them to great advantage. Be clear on the purpose of hiring the consultant and what you can and can't expect their work to produce. Up front clarity will lead to a productive and valuable relationship.

About The Author

Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt Publishing, a top 50 woman-owned and run business in Los Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of businesses with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook. See www.janbking.com for more information.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the byline is included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

janbking0191@sbcglobal.net

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In The News:

Tracking the progress of the third party testing we at PES are coordinating along with U-Plug Products LLC, of their 2 kW U-Plug magnet motor that is a 24"x6" portable cylinder weighing 20 pounds, expected to cost 2,000 USD. We want to run it three times longer (21 hours) than what the best batteries available could provide. (PESWiki; February-April 2016)
Pre-launch video announces a new LENR website coming March 1, 2016 at http://LookingForHeat.com The video is very well done as an entertaining piece that hopefully will go viral. (Free Energy Blog; February 21, 2016)
It's not easy to find a qualified testing agency that is also willing to sign off on something that appears to defy our existing understanding of the laws of physics. U-Plug has agreed to allow for a group of us scientists, including at least 3 PhDs to go test their unit and publish our report. (PESN; February 20, 2016)
So that this is quite clear, this is a test on a Regular Torch. NOT the ELFE flashlight. This is to compare them. 2 x NiMH AA 1.2v Battery's in a Regular Torch with a Halogen Bulb. Load is 2.8v and 0.85amps. (PESN; February 17, 2016)
Video explains the scientific principles behind how the ELFE flashlight harnesses endless free energy from the environment (Earth's magnetic field), which works better in some regions than others. It also shows the insides the torch. Uses the word "antennae," as one of the components. (PESN; February 14, 2016)
"The OPhone contains a capacitor that directly powers our phone. During extensive use this capacitor may become discharged, however this capacitor is being constantly trickle charged by Orbo. So after a period of time the capacitor will be recharged and the phone will be functional again. In essence the phone is charging itself." (Free Energy Blog; February 13, 2016)
The company that has figured out how to harness the earth's magnetic field to produce usable power and has been selling the ELFE flashlight (two more customer reports), is now developing a 3 kW generator. In two weeks, they are holding a business meeting for international distributors. (PESN; February 12, 2016)
Illinois company is gearing up to manufacture a 2 kW (115 volts, 17.3 amps) magnet motor that is load-following, portable, 24"x6" tube, weighing 20 pounds, very quiet, with 3-year warranty but expected to last at least 20 years with zero maintenance. Third-party tested. MSRP 2000 USD, beginning March, 2016, through distributors. (PESWiki; February 11, 2016)
The government agent who worked on this technology five decades ago, that is similar to Professor Steven E. Jones' Joule Ringer, thinks it is conceivable that we could eventually scale this solid state technology up to have a device the size and price of an air conditioner providing 20 kw. (PESWiki; February 9, 2016)
Nagendra Singh in Mumbai, India, informs us that they have built five of these and have two running for customers presently, in the 40 kVA range. "Presently it is too [expensive], costing 3200 USD per kva below 30 kva." (PESWiki; February 8, 2016)
The SunCell is described as a solid state "Sun in a Box." A 200 kW module would weigh around 250 pounds, with energy production cost being around 1 cent/kwh, so return on investment could be ten days. They are expected to be available commercially by Q1, 2017. (PESN; January 6, 2015)
"Today I received my Elfe Flashlight and it works. Time will tell if it meets the claims of automatically recharging, when depleted. If it holds, the claims a real breakthrough in FE technologie would have been accomplished." -- German customer (PESWiki; February 6, 2016)
The phone battery indicator stays near full even with heavy usage throughout the day. (The battery is charged by the internal OCube that pulls energy from the wheelwork of nature, solid state). (PESWiki; February 5, 2016)
The capacity of the Proton-3ND (Proton -3 Nano Diffusion) battery is projected to be 44 times the capacity of lithium batteries. Electric vehicles with these batteries would have more power and much more mileage at no extra charge. (PESN; January 4, 2016)
HH2 water fuel cell creates pure hydrogen off a 9-volt battery. This was a big diesel HH2 cell that was tested on a 16-liter Cat engine for CARB testing; yet it ran on very low amps and a low 9 volts. (PESWiki; February 3, 2016)
A former U.S. Government worker describes his effort to bring to public awareness (by highlighting things presently in the public domain) energy and anti-gravity technologies that the government had operational 50 years ago but has kept from the public. (PESN; February 2, 2016)
Imagine an incandescent bulb that is actually more efficient than LEDs! Well, it actually exists (MIT) and it does so by recycling light. (Free Energy Blog; February 2, 2016)
SMBC-Comics.com has posted a fun spoof on our skeptics. (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
"OK, so a lot of people are asking what's the difference between an Orbo power cell and traditional batteries." Batteries store energy, Orbo generates energy, then trickle charges a lithium ion battery.] (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
Mr. Keshe is as misleading in the field of free energy as he is regarding me. That has been my experience the years I've been exposedto his work. He takes something and blows it so far out of proportion that it barely resembles the fact from which it was extrapolated into infinity. He demands: "Close PESWiki now." (PESWiki; January 31, 2016)
They have achieved solid state operation using an electromagnetic pump to spray the molten silver between the electrodes for the 1000/second continuous pulsing for continuous power production. (Free Energy Blog; January 29, 2016)

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