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What is a consultant?

___A consultant is an individual (or, sometimes, a group or organization) that brings experience and expertise about an issue or process to an initiative, organization, group, government entity, or community.

A consultant may provide:

___Knowledge of an issue.

___Knowledge of a process.

___Specific skills.


Why might you seek a consultant?

___To solve a problem you can’t solve on your own.

___To facilitate a process.

___To bring specific knowledge or theory to your work.

___To borrow skills your organization doesn’t have.

___To carry out a specific, often time-limited task.

___To mediate a dispute or a difficult situation.

___To bring a fresh, unbiased perspective to the organization.

When might you seek a consultant?

___When you’re about to start something new.

___When you’re in a transition period.

___When there’s a serious problem.

___When there’s a need for more organizational structure, but you don’t know how to go about planning for or implementing it.

___When you don’t have the in-house capacity to perform a necessary task or process.

___When you need an outside evaluator.

Whom might you ask to be a consultant?

___Professional consultants

___Academics and researchers

___Former public officials

___Current or former staff or directors of organizations that deal with your issue

___People with specific professional skills

___People affected by the issue you’re working with

___People with specific cultural expertise

How do you choose a consultant?

___Define clearly what you want done.

___Determine the skills and knowledge the consultant will need to do the job.

___Determine the personal characteristics the consultant will need to work well with your organization.

___Determine what you can afford.

___Recruit candidates.

___Screen, interview, and choose among applicants.

___Evaluate the consultant’s work and its results.