Why Hire a Consultant?
Consultants can be extremely helpful to your organization as it moves along the path toward greater inclusiveness by helping you plan, manage, and implement your inclusiveness initiative. They can:
- Provide you with the wisdom that comes from their past experiences and help you avoid some mistakes.
- Offer valuable external perspectives that may help you when you feel that you aren't making as much progress as you would like. An outside party often supplies a perspective on an organization's dynamics that can be difficult to see or understand from the inside.
- Help negotiate differences of opinion between members of the board of directors and the staff and/or volunteers regarding directions the initiative could take.
- Help bring out the voices of people with less authority within the organization. These individuals may have valuable opinions that are not easily heard by the senior management and/or members of the board of directors.
There also are cautions in using consultants:
- One mistake that organizations often make is that they expect consultants to lead and own the process of the organization's journey to inclusiveness. If an organization's internal stakeholders do not feel responsible for ensuring the success of the inclusiveness initiative, the outcome of the initiative can be seriously jeopardized.
- In addition, consultants must be flexible and respond to the individual needs of different organizations. If you hire a consultant who is not adaptable and does not understand your organization, you can waste valuable time, energy, and money following their agenda instead of the agenda that is right for your organization.
Role of a Consultant
The consultant's primary role is to assist your organization with certain areas of your inclusiveness work. While the consultant may act as an educator, a catalyst for deeper change, a resource, or a facilitator, the leadership of the process remains within your organization. The Inclusiveness Committee, staff, board members, and executive director have the power, and the greater responsibility, to lead the process of becoming more inclusive.
There are generally four categories of work for which you may want to hire the services of a consultant or a consulting team: