Consultants/Training

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This door provides access to a database of consultants and details roles and responsibilities of consultants, training formats and approaches, and hiring a consultant.Use the Denver Foundation's online Consultant/Technical Assistance Database, a listing of consultants in Colorado who can provide training and other services related to building inclusiveness.


This door also details training formats and approaches.

"What to Look for in a Consultant " From Rich Male

This helpful advice about hiring a consultant is by Rich Male. You can go to http://www.richardmale.com to sign up for his enewsletter.

Periodically, a non-profit organization will need to hire a good consultant who can come in with an objective eye and assist the non-profit in handling issues and problems. Some examples of what a consultant can help with: 1) growth and development, 2) turning the organization around when it gets stuck in its own history and policies, 3) assistance in designing a resource development or strategic plan. Working with an experienced and skilled consultant can be a special time for the organization to look inward and explore how it can become more effective and efficient. However, it is important that the organization carefully selects the consultant to "fit the skills and cultural issues" that are central to the success of the organization. You want to spend your money wisely and get the greatest return on your investment. Let's look at some of the qualities that are necessary when you are interviewing and hiring a top notch consultant. . .

Does the consultant have non-profit experience? There are many consultants who work for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. It is important that the person you hire has worked extensively in the non-profit sector, as this sector has challenges and issues that for-profits do not face.

Cultural sensitivity. This is important. Especially with organizations that are diverse, inclusive, and have staff and boards comprised of people with different ethnic and racial backgrounds, skill levels, and ages. Managing and weaving together the diverse cultures in an organization and applying the necessary strategies within a cultural context is key to a consultant's success.

Responsive to your needs. Excellent consultants are part of a network of people who can bring a broad range of skills to your organization. Even if the consultant does not know all of the answers they should be able to act as a broker to answer your questions in a strategic manner. Strong strategic and tactical skills. The consultant needs to be highly skilled in helping you assess your needs. S/he then needs to be able to design the specific strategies and tactics that will help solve your issues.

Good listening skills. The consultant needs to spend the early part of their time with you listening to your issues and concerns and helping diagnose the problems correctly. Collaborative decision-making. If strategies are to be executed it takes more than one person to get behind the approach. The consultant needs to be able to involve the decision-makers in the consulting process so they are fully engaged in the outcomes and the processes to execute the decisions. This buy-in and ownership is necessary for success. High regard for discussion and resistance. The consultant will be managing change. And change is always hard.

The ability to manage resistance and to understand the "process of organizational change" is a key ingredient to success. Listening becomes important in this process to determine both where the resistance is coming from and the nature of the resistance. This will enable the consultant and the organization to successfully come up with ways to deal with it.

Looking at the whole but drilling down to the specifics is another valuable characteristic of a successful consultant. It is important to not only look at the big picture but to drill down to the specifics. Some people "soar with the eagles and others muck around with the pigeons." A good consultant needs to do both. Directness and honesty even to the point that it hurts. Growth takes place not only through our successes but through crisis and adversity. You want to hire a consultant who will tell you what they see rather than what you want to hear. This quality in a consultant is critical for this relationship to succeed.

Results oriented. You are spending scarce resources on the consultant and you want to make sure they are not only focused on the process but on the results and the return on investment of the relationship. Excellent consultants are focused on the results and outcomes of their work.

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