Perhaps you're seriously thinking of engaging the services of a management consultant or you know someone who has. If you've had little or no experience in this respect, then you could do with a bit of training on one very important issue, namely, how do you pay that person. Although this may seem blatantly obvious, things are seldom what they appear to be. Because you want value for money, you be interested in the rest of this article.
You'll find that the majority of management consultants charge by the day. The less confident will work for almost anything; the more confident and experienced will have immutable rates. But, it all amounts to the same thing: They'll bill you according to the time they spend working in your organization.
Here's a truism: Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it the right thing to do. You should not pay anyone for their time, and here's why.
Before the Industrial Revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries in England and the US, respectively, the only people who were paid for their time were the unskilled: day laborers who drifted from one farm to the next, digging ditches, mucking out, and anything else that anyone could do. Those who were skilled, however, were paid for what they did; not for how long it took them to do it.
The Industrial Revolutions changed all that. Quotas that formerly were the bailiwick of the skilled were applied to the newly hired factory workers, who themselves were largely unskilled; but everyone employed there was paid for their time. That means that the practice of charging for time is about 300 years old. Remember, however, that the criterion for payment was according to whether the workers were skilled or unskilled.
When you contract a management consultant, that person is saying in effect that he or she is not just highly skilled, but exceptionally skilled; yet in the same breath that same person is also insisting on charging for his or her time. Why? Because he or she has no idea where the custom came from. As far as consultants are concerned, it's always been that way. Don't fix what isn't broken, and all that.
This brings up another irony. Many consultants claim to specialize in changing the companies run their businesses or how to manage their people better. But these are the very same people who won't change the way they charge their customers..
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