An external improvement consultant can guide your improvement project and can contribute significantly to your success. But how do you choose the best improvement consultant? 5 questions you should ask a potential improvement coach!
When do you hire an improvement consultant?
An external improvement consultant is hired to guide an improvement trajectory, an improvement project or an improvement team within an organization. Knowledge transfer is an essential part of the consultant’s job, to ensure that improvement continues to happen, even after completion of the assignment.
Essential questions for the improvement coach
1. What’s the consultant’s passion?
No, this isn’t about his love for bike-tours on Saturday morning. Is the passion in his work about his own success or that of the customer? Does he or she have fun improving and helping the customer? That is the right approach.
2. What is his or her plan?
That’s an obvious question. It’s key to discover whether the consultant has an improvement philosophy and an accompanying pragmatic script? Especially in projects spanning multiple years, it’s important the consultant has a clear roadmap instead of an ad hoc approach. Even for short projects, it’s wise to work methodically.
3. How will the consultant transfer the required knowledge on improvement?
When an improvement method or route is implemented, the customer needs to be trained to apply the tools, techniques, and trajectories. Even a user-friendly tool like Cierpa Kaizen needs to be implemented and explained to make sure the customer will maximize the potential of the software. The question is how the consultant will approach it.
4. How will knowledge be transferred and secured within the organization?
Both at the start-up, and during the improvement process, it’s vital that knowledge isn’t confined to a few people, and that it is adequately secured. Ask the consultant how he or she will make this happen.
5. What’s the consultant’s revenue model?
Does the consultant work on an hourly basis (obligation of effort), a lump sum for a project, or is the fee based on actual results (obligation of result). There are many options.
Make sure you know the consequences of the revenue model. When you focus on a specific result, the consultant may focus solely on scoring on that result, at the expense of other results. This way, it will become his team, not yours. A lump sum for a project is fairly non-binding: what will be done and with what result? Working on an hourly basis can lead to unexpected costs and might even prolong the project.
Our advice is to combine solid revenue with variable revenue. For instance, ask for a 20% discount on the daily tariff, but offer a 40% bonus when results are attained.
Now you are well prepared to speak with the improvement consultant. Would you like advice on a suitable improvement consultant that works with Cierpa Software? We can recommend different improvement consultants. You can read more about it in the section Cierpa and Consultants.