Create Accountability with Your Consulting Partner
Working with a consulting firm can make a considerable impact to your company. You now have at your disposal a group of experts dedicated to improving your company’s culture, influencing organizational behavior, developing your talent management system, and driving your strategy.
Like any good relationship, you’ll need to work together. Accountability is a two-way street, and it’s important that both parties are invested in positive results. Clearly, you can do a lot together. Here are five tips to ensure a positive experience.
Tip #1: Have a standing meeting, show up on time, and, of course, be prepared.
How often you meet is up to you, but the important thing is you have a recurring meeting scheduled on everyone’s calendar. In the beginning, you may find you need to meet once a week. If the consultant is helping you through a crisis, you may need to meet once a day. Once the relationship solidifies, meeting once a month or once a quarter will suffice.
The important thing is that you stick to the schedule and everyone shows up, is on time and prepared for the discussion. If you arrive late, or unprepared, you are signaling to the consulting firm that late and unprepared is acceptable behavior. So create an agenda ahead of time, be ready to discuss, and make the best use of everyone’s time. This is a foundational component of a culture of accountability.
Tip #2: Have an internal champion to help create accountability.
There will be many people and moving parts involved in any work with your partner. If you don’t set someone from your organization up as the point person to keep track of progress and be accountable for results, you run the risk of each person assuming that someone else is handling it. To clarify, this does not mean this person is in charge of completing all tasks. Simply, they are in charge of keeping up with the people in charge of tasks, within your organization and with the consultants. This way, you avoid confusion of who is responsible. This person will keep track of due dates and tasks assignments, and helping everyone stay on the same page. Your consultant company will likely have a particular champion for you as well.
Tip #3: Create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound).
When it comes to accountability in any project, it’s important that everyone involved knows what success looks like. Each player needs to know what’s expected of them; how to track what’s expected of them, but also that itis possible, it’s relevant and why and when it’s expected to be done. There is no way to have accountability without those requirements being met. The best you can hope for without them is to get lucky.
Tip #4: Identify milestones.
You’ve created your SMART goals, now establish your milestones. Make sure everyone on the team is aware of what they are. Create status reports for the milestones specifically, and the projects in general. Talk about them at your standing meeting, check the progress and make adjustments if needed. When you achieve your milestone, celebrate it. You don’t have to give everyone a bonus, just acknowledge the completion and show appreciation to your team. This reinforces the importance of the milestone. If a milestone is not reach by its anticipated time, make sure you understand and address the reasons why.
Tip #5: Stay consistent.
For best results, set the pace and expectations in the beginning of the relationship and stick with them. Have your meetings on the same day and time when possible. Treat the meetings just as important several months in as they were in the beginning. Don’t let things go slack when the newness wears off. Stick to your deadlines; you can’t let them slide one week and be fine with it, but then get upset the following week when something is not met. They must be consistently important. Of course, there can always be extreme circumstances that will be taken into account, but, as a rule, treat deadlines and expectations the same every time.
These best practices can help create team accountability, and in turn, maximize the value of consulting partnerships.
If you think your organization could benefit from consulting support, give us a call at 724.655.4441.
Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.