Internal Advisors in your organisation – double espresso or caffeine-free?

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The single most important thing a consultant brings to a company: “The ability to look objectively at the company’s problems and render an unbiased view of the situation.” Chickillo & Kleiner, 1990

Internal advisors, whether homegrown or recruited from leading strategy firms, can be like coffee for your organisation, providing the ‘kick’ it really needs to pursue change.

Over time, however, research suggests they can become ‘decaffeinated’ as a result of internal politics and company culture and may require an external ‘surrogate partner’ to ensure they remain focused, energised and objective.

Over many years of both working with and researching the consulting market, we have determined an interesting dichotomy that arises for internal consultants and advisors. While there is little doubt that using them offers several advantages over external consultants for some organisations, over time internal advisors can become diluted or ‘decaffeinated’.

Here’s the thing about decaffeinated coffee – it looks the same, it tastes the same but it doesn’t quite deliver the ‘kick’ that caffeine gives you.

So how can you ensure that your internal consultants continue to provide this unbiased view and the adrenaline kick required for your organisation?

One approach is to have a partner who can act as an external benchmark. A ‘surrogate partner’ will ensure that your internal consultants continue to receive the guidance required to have the objectivity and effectiveness of external consultants.

Through on-going coaching, mentoring and training, your external partner can ensure your internal consultants:

  • Stay energised, focused, independent and objective, as would external consultants
  • Have developed a clear corporate contract
  • Continue to market the benefits to the ‘client’
  • Continue to develop key skills and behaviours at individual and group levels
  • Have a realistic view of their limits and what they can achieve
  • Continue to have the confidence, trust, support and understanding of Senior Management internally
  • Manage the internal client relationship

To find out how best to develop and maintain your internal team’s ‘kick’, please contact us.

Read the full article here: Internal Consultants – Organisational Adrenaline or Decaffeinated Consultants? – Openside

Photo ‘Espresso’ by Flickr user 55Laney69 used under Creative Commons License.