Archive for May 16th, 2007

Why companies hire outside experts (part 2 of 3)

Consultants have advantages in coming up with new solutions due to the following:

  • Perception. This is commonly called the “anchoring and adjustment” process. People tend to lock into an opinion, the anchor, and adjust their opinions as new information is brought to bear on the problem. The impact of the initial anchoring opinion is far too great over time while there is far too little adjustment going on as new or better information is available. Experts know to reserve judgement.

  • Time/Point of view. Consultants get all the information required in a relatively short period of time, which diminishes the anchor problem. The real business executives have been part of the development of the problem over months or years and have allowed early diagnoses of the nature of the problem to cloud the importance of more recent information.

  • Point of View. The expert is impartial. The real executives may have an historical and political context such as something to prove about whose “take” on the problem was right.

  • Approach. Consultants approach a project with a team of varied experience, in a non hierarchical mode. No one is “in charge”. This enables “outside the box” thinking and is not prone to supporting one person’s thinking over other team members.

  • Objectivity. Experts are not one-trick ponies and work hard to remove bias to motivation (the difference between what is good for you versus what is good for them)