If your leadership team recently tasked you with creating, implementing, or executing a strategic plan, you may want to consider getting help from an expert. But how do you know that hiring a strategy consultant will be money well spent? In what situations would a consultant be useful? Can strategy management software do the job instead?
We’ll explain how to determine if you need outside help from a consultant and the benefits of doing so, or if the right technology can provide enough support for your team.
When You Need A Strategy Consultant
Whether you should hire a consultant or not often hinges on your strategic plan, expertise, and capacity. Start by asking yourself these questions:
If you DON’T have a strategic plan…
- Have you created one at a previous organization?
- Are you comfortable creating one for your current organization?
- Do you have the time and resources to create a strategic plan yourself?
If you DO have a strategic plan…
- Does it successfully provide goals and purpose to your organization?
- Are all the elements of your strategic plan in place (e.g. metric development)?
- Has your plan been implemented? Executed?
- Have you refreshed your strategic plan recently?
If “no” is your answer to some or all of these questions, then we’d recommend bringing a strategic planning consultant on board to lead you through this process. Once you have decided you need the help, there are numerous ways it will pay off for your organization.
Benefits Of Hiring A Strategy Consultant
Even if you’ve determined that a strategy consultant would be useful, you may have to convince your organization’s leaders that this role is valuable and worth the budget allocation. There are four primary benefits of hiring a consultant:
- Experience: A consultant will bring a wealth of experience from working with other organizations. They know the steps to take and can confidently lead your team through the strategic planning process.
- Speed: Time is of the essence and a consultant will have established methods in place for creating strategic plans. The process will go much faster than if you are starting from scratch in-house.
- Objectivity: Consultants act as objective third-parties. They bring a fresh perspective and approach that’s unhindered by office politics. A consultant can facilitate meetings and have tough conversations when needed, all while remaining neutral.
- Focus: A consultant’s sole focus is on whatever you hired them to do. It could be creating, implementing, or assisting with the execution of your strategic plan. They will keep everything and everyone on track because it’s their job. If strategic planning is just part of someone’s job, the process might not get the attention or time it needs to be done right.
- Cost: It might be more cost effective and easier to bring in a short-term consultant versus hiring a new employee, but this varies by organization and might not always be a benefit. You’ll want an employee to manage the strategic plan after the consultant leaves, but it’s worth considering the economic cost of hiring a consultant versus not hiring one.
When You Don’t Need A Strategy Consultant
If you have a solid strategic plan in place and are confident with your implementation and execution tactics, you likely don’t need a strategy consultant. In these situations, an organization can rely on software to help with the next steps in the process.
That’s not to say that having a strategic plan in place means you’re done with the hard work. Strategy management software is designed to make it easy to implement plans and remove friction points, but no technology will ever advance to the point where these steps can occur without dedicated time, effort, and communication from your team. You must ensure the software is properly integrated with the strategic plan and executed accordingly, but again, you don’t necessarily need a consultant to accomplish this.
The software keeps a historical record of your strategy so you can evaluate success and progress, decreasing the need for a consultant when refreshing your plans as well. You can look back at former versions of strategic plans easily and create new ones based on the foundation you’ve already established.
Benefits Of Investing In Strategy Management Software
When you’re looking at software options, choose a provider with the best technology and experience with strategic planning and consulting. The individuals you’re working with at the software company should be just as knowledgeable about the processes of creating, implementing, and executing strategic plans as they are about their product. Having them available to answer your questions is a huge benefit when you’ve decided not to hire a consultant.
As you implement and execute your strategy with a software solution, you are bound to have technological questions and questions around executing a strategic plan. Find a software provider who can help guide you in both areas. All the changes and challenges that come with the strategic planning process will be easier when you partner with people who have experience and backgrounds in both fields.
The Last Word
Step back and evaluate where you are in the strategic planning process—your needs, goals, and budget—and then you’ll be able to decide whether you need expert guidance.
If you choose to forego hiring a consultant, ClearPoint’s software can help you effectively implement your strategic plans in-house. Or if you do need a strategy consultant, we can put you in touch with trusted, experienced partners.