… or at least think carefully about why you are hiring them.
Steve Holt had some fun with his talk at TOCICO this year that he created out of conversations with April K Mills of Engine for Change. I think he always has fun at these things. And he left plenty of space for conversation.
After some prologue, it turns out he was talking about change management. Organizations often hire consultants to recommend and/or implement specific changes. Unfortunately, for many people who do "process improvement" consulting, organizations are often unable to sustain the changes. The organizational antibodies come back to life, once the consultants leave, and the old behaviors tend to come back.
Why? Steve proposes that these kinds of projects are often the time of change that is of the variety, "drive people to change." It is top-down and often doesn't include support from anyone but the people paying the bills. And sometimes that is even lost at the end.
On the other hand are change initiatives that are driven by people - Change driven by people, rather than People driven to change. These change initiatives are often bottom-up and grow almost organically. The people involved are excited and want the new way of operation. They actively seek to make things different.
One idea that Steve closed with was the idea of a "policy buffer" where the normal modes of operation are explicitly changed for the duration of the change effort. The idea is to create a "buffer zone" around the project where they are explicitly permitted to try something new. This change may include following different policies than are standard in the business. (Changing the reporting requirements, for example.) This reminded me of Steve Denning's concepts in Radical Management: create islands of success and draw people to want to replicate it.