“I don’t get no respect” could be a catchphrase for an internal consultant—but not anymore. A few days ago, ASTD Press published Consulting on the Inside, 2nd edition, and once internal consultants get their hands on this book and start applying its lessons, they will get respect in spades.
How are internal consultants different from externals? Well, let’s look at external consultants first. The external consultant—often perceived as having a lot of expertise, experience, and credibility—is brought in by senior executives to “facilitate a client-requested change without having the formal authority to implement the recommended actions.” He or she is often viewed as an objective outsider, someone who has a lot of broad business experience and knows all the latest and greatest business thinking. Often he or she is viewed as a hotshot who is trusted by the executive team to fix an organizational problem.
Internals, however, sometimes seem to lack credibility and aren’t taken seriously. They can be viewed as having an agenda, as not being objective. Also, they lack the broad business exposure that external consultants gain as part of their everyday work.
However, internal consultants do some advantages externals don’t have: They have deep knowledge of the organization—its culture, its lingo, its history, the ways things are done—which can give them an edge in getting projects off the ground because they know who to talk to and how to make things happen.
In Consulting on the Inside, 2nd edition, Beverly Scott and B. Kim Barnes provide all that an internal consultant could need to leverage their advantages and minimize their disadvantages. The book provides an eight-phase consulting model that allows for the often nonlinear and iterative nature of the internal consulting process.
One of the new additions to this second addition is a section devoted entirely to the interpersonal skills that are required for success in internal consulting (and in business in general). The skills that B. Kim Barnes brings her considerable experience and in-depth knowledge to include influence, negotiation, innovation, change, and team effectiveness.
And finally one the real values of the book are the tools provided both in the hard copy and on the web. These include meeting agendas, self-assessments, processes, models, flowcharts, and more.
So read the sample chapter at the Consulting on the Inside webpage, pick up a copy, and get some respect!