What makes a good consultant?

Traditionally businesses engage in management consultancies for two reasons: incremental horsepower and a fresh pair of eyes. With the market saturated with old school consultancies, we were keen to discover what makes Pollen a point of difference; we asked our clients what made them engage with us and what they believe makes a good consultant stand out from the pack. Here are our key findings…


  1. Experience in the field: It’s useful to have someone who has been there, done that and learnt from past experience. A portfolio of successful engagements across a vast range of businesses, sectors and industries brings ability for new skillset.


  1. Knowledge: Gained through development within an organisation but being able to add a fresh mindset through insights and thought leadership. Very few consultants know how to bring fresh ideas to the table. In other words, “Don’t tell us what we already know, show us how to use it with great infrastructure built behind it.”


  1. Team Player: Maintaining strong engagement with the workforce, including key stakeholders in decision making and winning hearts & minds of employees through end to end process – and somebody who is not afraid to chuck on some high vis and get their hands dirty on the factory floor where the action happens!


  1. Culture: An individual that listens and wants to understand and evolve your business, not only through systems and processes but also through culture and rhythms. Influence is best achieved through understanding team rhythms and not making assumptions that effect the rhythm behaviours.


  1. Collaboration: A good consultant is an extension of the team and alignment on collaboration is the key critical factor for success. It’s also being honest about where your skillset lies and being able to bring in expertise through outside network to achieve the best results at every stage of the transformation process.


  1. Partnership: This is founded through trust both ways and building long lasting relationships to benefit the business. Being able to give a personalised experience and pick up the phone to soundboard an idea both big or small. Showing authenticity, responsibility and accountability.


  1. Results: Transforming the business in a very real way to drive change that has a tangible and visible P&L advantage. With regards to projects, being well planned, with a clear objective and scope and executing on time and within budget.


  1. Problem Solving Smarts: A lot of consultants tell you what your problems are – A good consultant is one step ahead to give you actionable solutions. They can bring sustainable solutions to problems that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely.


  1. Diversity: Both personally and culturally within a team, being diverse allows resilience and change adaptability which helps to view problems in a more creative light.


  1. Transparency: Giving you the whole strategy package with no hidden costs – ROI savings scheme makes it even easier to work with!


  1. Agility: Being practical and realistic but also being able to adjust to circumstances and business needs within an organisation. A one size fits all approach doesn’t work.


  1. Practicality: Being able to delve into detail to produce logical and practical solutions. Other consultants are more generic, you give them a launchpad and they come back with theoretical responses. A good consultant will strive for continuous improvement.


  1. Entrepreneurial Mindset: Going the extra mile to solve a problem in the now but future proofing the business by suggesting technological advancements or new ways to push the business further down the line.


  1. Communication: Being able to clearly present and articulate changes for implementation across all verticals of the business.



Sophia Pizzey: Global Growth & Engagement Lead – Pollen Consulting Group