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The process of choosing the correct Organizational Development consultant for a particular company can be very stressful and time consuming. Many factors may come into play such as are they detailed, how is the consultant known (good or bad), and how do their specific skills fit your companies needs. All of these are questions a company should ask and research when looking for the proper Organizational Development Consultant. Research has shown several methods on how to get the right fit for your company and I’ve narrowed down eleven of the best ways for a firm to choose their consultant and this is what was found.
The first competencies that a company should look at when selecting an Organizational Development Consultant is whether or not they have the necessary skills required for the job the client needs completed. All consultants vary in skills and their skill level so it is important to look into their skills thoroughly because if someone seems overqualified and they aren’t well known then it may be too good to be true. The second competency to look for is whether the consultant gathers complete and accurate information on the problem (Consulting Process in Action). Good things to look for in a consultant are do they apply affective questioning, observation, and feedback processing skills. How do the OD consultants analyze the data collected and interrelate it to quantitative, descriptive statistics such as means and coefficients using numerical data (OD and Change pg. 126), or qualitative, theoretical analogies of a problem (OD and Change pg. 123), information about the clients company. When this practice is done by the consultant it determines the types and amount of data needed for the appropriate collection process, which means the better the collection process is done by the consultant the better results will be. After this is done the consultant should assist the client in interpreting the data for effective results and move them into the directions of the intervention planning stage. This gives the client an idea on how they can make changes to certain things to improve their company and clear up any questions they may have with the process.
Another competency to use when evaluating a consultant is, whether or not they consult with the proper employees about the Organizational Development problem or situation. (Consulting Process in Action) Does the consultant look at just the problem or does he go into depth and look into those around who could be influencing it.
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The fifth way on judging an OD consultant is if how they develop and how do they develop an interpersonal relationship with their clients. (Consulting Process in Action) Developing a relationship with a client is almost like any other relationship. The consultant should take things slowly and build trust and confidence with the client. (Consulting Process in Action) The relationship should never be too informal where best friends are made because it could impact the success of the job but becoming friends with a client may have advantages. Once the trust is earned by the consultant then a long time commitment process can be put into place for future projects with a firm. The consultant has to be able to know and understand the culture and environment of firm’s workers to have success in getting to know its employees. The consultant should inform the employees with as much information as possible to avoid confusion and anger. The more a company and its employees have a trusting understanding with a consultant the more likely they will be willing and helpful to make a change in the firm. A trusting employee will always make the changing process run smoother than an employee who doesn’t know the consulting parties or understand what is going on in the company.
The next competency is how the consultants go about contractual obligations. It's the consultants’ job to make sure all fees and rules are set and understood. A proper consultant will build realistic expectations and outcomes of their intervention. (ODNetwork) A consultant should tell the firm exactly what can be done and don’t sugarcoat or try to make it sound better than it actually is. If a consultant tells the firm all these great things they can do to change and he doesn’t get the results he over exaggerated than the firm will most likely not hire the consultant again but they also have now earned a reputation of someone who can produce the results company’s want. The consultant must also clarify the roles of what he is to do as well as the clients. When the consultant and the client are on the same page and know what is going on then things run smooth. Another part of proper contracting is the consultant is able to identify the problem efficiently. The consultant must be able to find what is causing a problem, parties involved, who it affects, and what can be done to solve it. (odnetwork) The last part of contracting is whether or not the consultant properly lays out their evaluation model of the company and how they plan to intervene and solve a problem. Doing this will let the client know what is being planned to fix the problem and also works and the communication and trust factors that are vital in Organizational Development.
The seventh competency from my research is the evaluation not only of the company but of themselves as well. An effective consultant will initiate ongoing feedback in the client-consultant relationship. (odnetwork) The consultant always communicates with the client on there thoughts and ideas about the situation of a firm. A client left in the dark may feel helpless cause a problem with the implementation process. The proper means for evaluating a company is always useful. Proper documentation such as interviews of employees and financial sheets provide accurate data when working on an implementation strategy. (odnetwork) A consultant must use research with their theory and practice when working on a case. It’s helpful to know the history of the firm to understand what works and what doesn’t and how the consultants’ practices will affect the situation. On the flipside of things does the consultant take evaluations on his/her jobs? If a consultant has done evaluations then look into the feedback of the client to determine if they would fit a firms needs. The more someone has been evaluated shows experience and confidence in their performance. On the other hand if a consultant has never had an evaluation than it may sometimes mean they have something to hide about their work. Evaluations are a good way to show future employers the jobs a consultant has done as well the particular skills they pertain. (OD & Change) It is sort of a performance evaluation on how well they have done a job and is very useful in determining a consultant.
Another competency is the start-up or beginning part of OD. What is a consultant’s first impression of a case a case? The consultant should clarify all the issues with a client and separate the mandatory from the minor. (nps) This is where all biases should be told involving the situation as well as the structure and culture of the firm should be understood by an effective consultant. Just like in any other stage the consultant must help the client to understand the critical factors of the case and how the process is working. The final part of a consultant having good start up skills is they are able to point out and clarify roles in the organization. (nps) An effective consultant can pick the roles of all important parties involved in the situation and identify how they maybe affecting the problem.
The next affective way of determining if a consultant is effective is by their intervention strategies along with how they implement them in order to meet the clients’ needs. When it comes to developing an effective intervention strategy a consultant they should apply their knowledge of Organizational Development along with their experience in situations. (nps) A consultant must be able to understand and develop models on how improve the effectiveness of the company while decreasing the problems. They should also give effective presentations and how he/she is going to implement their plan successfully so the clients understand. Along with presenting the consultant should process frequent feedback to the clients about how to obtain a satisfactory intervention. (nps) When it comes to implementing a strategy an affective consultant should organize and manage a complex project over an extended period. The consultant should always frequently brief appropriate parties on progress and outcomes of their intervention strategies. Next they need to be able to identify, evaluate and secures appropriate outside resources from the firm. After they complete that the next part of the process is to Conduct workshops, administer diagnostic instruments, and conduct focus sessions. (odnetwork) The final characteristic of an effective consultant’s intervention process is how they develop procedures that are rooted in the data, concrete and simple, logical, measurable and based on client satisfaction.
The first of my last two competencies is how well the consult is able to adapt to their environment and situation. If they are experienced do they continue to learn and change their skills as they progress in their career. (odnetwork) The consultant has to be able to keep up with the fast paced society. The consultant should be able to adapt to any culture to ensure smooth transition when the change is implemented. The eleven and final competency of an affective consultant is how self aware and sure of themselves they are. Do they know what skills they do or don’t have?(odnetwork) If they seem overconfident about something then they could be hiding something. A successful consultant needs to be aware of the influence of the cultural dynamics on others. (nps) They should know and manage their personal biases to avoid confrontation. The final part on grading a consultant on their self awareness is how do they assess the real issues as they may come up and how does the consultant avoid personal satisfaction over client satisfaction.
These are the just a few of the basic competencies and their characteristics that are used in determining an OD consultant. Organizational development is such a broad category that it is hard to specify what each company may look for in a OD consultant but these competency from above are the ones mostly used to narrow down a search. In choosing a proper consultant it all comes down to how a consultant will fit into the puzzle of a company. No ones is ever 100% certain if a person is the right fit until they are chosen, so it all boils down to a hit or miss philosophy along with using the core competencies from above.