5 Key Traits of a Great Consultant

There are many positive and negative points in a wealth management firm's progression when hiring a consultant becomes important. Sometimes, they may need skill sets they do not have in-house to solve a particular problem statement, such as implementing a new platform. They can't afford full-time in-house support. Other times, they want answers to big questions, such as why they are losing to competitors. Broadly, a consultant helps a firm solve a particular challenge, offers new or different perspectives, and eventually works themselves out of a job because they've solved the problem or set the firm up to own the solution and do it themselves. 

Consultants are not all equal. Each one brings different values and experiences to the table. The "right one" is the "right one for you," but you should expect several overarching benefits from your consultant.

What to Expect from a Consultant

To ensure you're hiring a good consultant for your problem statement, look for specific attributes from the candidates. Top consultants will:

  • Be the expert in the room. The best consultants know your business inside and out. They have experience doing the work previously. They have research and evidence to support their strategies.
  • Offer you a relationship that is meaningful, comfortable, and built on trust. The trust equation is Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy / Self Orientation. This combination of knowledge, dependability and feeling of safety divided by the consultant's focus builds trust between the client and consultant. A good consultant understands that trust takes time to create the right partnership for you.
  • Be a storyteller. Change is almost always part of a consultant's work. The consultant is the biggest champion and advocate for the client to complete the work. They will help you tell the story to ensure you sell the strategy at all company levels. They will help you reach company-wide teams to adopt change.
  • Be clear and transparent, and set expectations. A good consultant will clearly outline the journey to solve the problem and the expectations accompanying that journey toward success.
  • Help you know what you don't know. Working internally often means you are ingrained in that role, culture and politics of what you are working on. You don't realize what you don't know. A good consultant brings a powerful outside perspective.

How to Hire the Right Consultant

First, clearly define your problem statement. Knowing the problem will help you find the type of consultant for your needs. Be open-minded; the right consultant will help you discern if you clearly articulate your problem statement. Second, be honest about the company's readiness to change and implement solutions. There are many times when people have done evaluations of changing a tech stack, for example, but it was such a game changer that it never got past that point. The buy-in never happened because the firm needed more time to embrace the change.

If you're ready to tackle a problem that needs more than your internal team can handle, getting the outside support of an experienced consultant can be a huge win. 

For help determining if you need a consultant or to learn more about our consulting services, get in touch.

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