Book Brief: Mastering the Use of Consultants

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 08-05-2005
Consulting Mastery: How the Best Make the Biggest Difference
By Keith Merron
Berrett-Koehler, July 2005
265 pages, $34.95

Although it is obviously written for consultants, this book poses a basic question to the senior managers who hire them: What exactly do you want a consultant to do? Merron, the founder of the Avista Consulting Group, argues that you have a fundamental decision to make. A consultant can either solve a specific problem, or can help you reform your entire department/organization so there is wholesale change. Not surprisingly, he argues for the latter option, but there are numerous instances when having a consultant solve only a specific task would be of enormous help. There is greater benefit to be derived from knowing specifically, and in great detail, what you want a consultant to do. Unfortunately, that is not a task you can delegate to a consultant.