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Opinion

Working with consultants

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

Being also a business advisor to many entrepreneurs, the most difficult to deal with are those who have been educated in foreign schools, those with postgraduate diplomas that litter their office walls and those who are already financially well-off.

There are times when they ask me to speak on something or just toss my thoughts on certain issues, they always have a way to refute what I said and bring up what they know in business school or brag about their assets and investments as if to say that their wealth represents the mastery in the business. It’s like a way of saying to me, “Who are you to tell me what to do?”    

To begin with, consultants and advisors are not there to compete or outsmart businessmen, although I know many consultants who overly feel that they know better, but consultants essentially are there to offer second or alternative ideas to solve or improve aspects of the business thus, their opinion is only recommendatory.

Consultants are not gods but the problem with most of them is that they think they are. And the reason why many businesses dread or dislike consultants is because they come in so high and mighty that they look expensive. That’s why you see only a very few who successfully thrive in the business because many of them are not even their own consultant to themselves.  

And if they ever did get hired to do the work, they end up in conflict with the middle and senior management teams because they tend to believe that they are just a third party trying to solve a problem. While consultants are third party entities, it is not always good to be just merely an observer or fact-finder. Consultants need to immerse themselves with the people in the company and find out if the problem is really process or people. I have made many discoveries that companies fail not because their system is inferior over the other, companies fail because of their inability to connect with their people. Systems can only do so far when the people behind them are disgruntled or unhappy with the company.

Businessmen must have an open mind when dealing with consultants. For well-meaning consultants, they are there to help. If you happen to be a businessman and somehow need a second opinion, focus on the problem or issue at hand than the persona of the consultant. If you think that he is smarter than you, you value every advice he makes or at least ponder hard whether it’s worth pursuing. Admit that you do not know everything and that there are times that you need an extra eye to find your blind spots.

Businessmen and consultants can be a very good tandem in achieving a company’s goal but you have to drop the braggadocio first and start focusing on what you can do together. Remember, two heads are better than one.

* * *

 Attention: OFWs in Hong Kong and in the UAE. I will be conducting a free seminar on Real Estate Entrepreneurship for Overseas Filipino Workers on the following countries and schedules: 

Hong Kong  -  February 18 - 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., Star Cruises, Kowloon   - February 19 - 1:00 – 5pm, Little Quiapo Restaurant, Central Park 

UAE - March 1  - 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Regent Place Hotel, Burjuman District, Dubai - March 2-3   - 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Chowking Hamdan, Abu Dhabi - March 4-5   - 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m, Regent Place Hotel, Burjuman District, Dubai

For seat reservations, shoot me an email.

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