If you are are a manager in industry or government, your employer may be hiring more and more outside consultants as planning or project advisors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Employment of management analysts is expected to grow 22 percent over the 2006-16 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations, as industry and government increasingly rely on outside expertise to improve the performance of their organizations.”
When your boss needs expert advice in your field, would he or she turn to you first?
Becoming the Internal Consultant of Choice for your boss has many benefits:
Benefits to You:
As you participate in organizational fact finding, definition of desired results, and planning, you give your department or team a voice in deciding whether and how outside consultants are assigned to tasks or projects that affect your work. This encourages effective coordination of inside and outside resources.
As you investigate what your Bass wants to achieve, you gain a broader perspective of the organization’s strategy, current situation, and resources. You become familiar with the Big Picture of organizational challenges as the context for mapping the way ahead. This is the viewpoint of a leader.
As you consult with your Boss on upcoming challenges, you can identify his or her expectations of your department (and you!). This “early warning” can help you organize to meet new needs, and communicate the leadership rationale for change to those you supervise.
Taking the initiative to discover your Boss’s outcomes, and to discuss options for action can build your credibility, lay the foundation for mutual trust, and demonstrate your value as a partner in planning and performance management.
Benefits to Your Boss:
As an internal consultant, you already know and understand your organization. At first, external consultants do not. They must spend the initial phase of their work gaining insights that you already have. You can save your Boss time and money as you provide an “inside-out” view of resources and realities that may influence current performance and new initiatives.
Your understanding of and access to staff on the front line can help the Boss consider and align their interests with overall strategy as plans develop. Representing staff interests well, and keeping staff informed of plans can boost morale and encourage execution of strategy.
Your familiarity with customer concerns and priorities can ensure that solutions are aligned with what the market wants.
Producing results is the bottom line for your organization and your Boss. If you want to be part of the solutions that your Boss is seeking, it may be time to promote yourself to Internal Consultant.