Nowadays a dilemma is present at corporate offices: how to deal with consultants that are hired for a single project. Do they get the full time treatment or the concession of an ephimerus life at your organization? Having been a consultant myself for over 8 years, I can underline that is neither.
Consultants are brought in to provide the perspective of an outsider, without any bias or emotional commitment. This idea is supposed to be quite at the center of the relationship, however organizations often miss the point. Wholeheartedly a risk taker, a consultant is at his best when he is most different than the rest. It is his ability to steer away from the pack of full timers that makes his practice desirable.
It is said that creativity is the ability to connect dots from multiple disciplines, being able to absorb from different environments, borrow and innovate on the already known; consultants are driven by this principle. They have already wandered around gathering all the experience your full time team hasn’t gotten by being in a silo and proves to be valuable for the project.
But being a consultant is not a walk in park. There might be time gaps when you don’t get paid, and just when you start feeling conformable and make friends at the workplace, it’s time for the contract to end. As a one-man show, you have to spend more time working on your finances, corporate taxes, and all the business nuisances. There is a high degree of risk carried over every time a new contract starts and every time another one ends.
That’s why the most powerful weapon a consultant has is his integrity and ethics in the quality of his work. As risk takers, free birds, consultants don’t fear to speak their minds for the quality of the product. Their concept of job security is the ability to perform their job anywhere for any organization, without staying at the same place for too long. They see change as necessary, even more, as crucial for their success.
So next time you have to deal with a Consultant at your corporate setting, embrace the fact they have to be different than your full-timers and realize they don’t swallow the same pill of apathy or indifference to every order that comes from the top. Let them do their job. Make use of the experience they bring for a better product. You won’t regret it, nor will your users.