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Business support functions - The Right Stuff

For a project to succeed, it needs a team that can perform. David Parmenter outlines how a company can make the most of external consultants in these circumstances.

Behind most successful managers are the successful projects where they have been able to obtain leverage by using consultants properly. You have a choice: learn to achieve by getting the right consultants ‘on the bus’ or hire unwisely and set yourself up for failed projects. From my observations and first-hand experience as a consultant, I set out some pointers to help you use consultants successfully.

Never give a new person a new job

Peter Drucker, for many people, was the Leonardo de Vinci of management. His work will be appreciated more in 400 years’ time than at present. We all would benefit from reading The Definitive Drucker, a book that offers a summary of the sage’s advice. Drucker observed that many new initiatives failed because the wrong people were leading them. When we recruit a new employee or consultant to undertake a new job or project, such as the introduction of lean or the balanced scorecard into the organisation, there will be much uncertainty among staff and management. Staff will be wondering what is going to happen with my job? Are my favourite tasks about to disappear? What effect is this going to have on my pay?

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