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The Key Characteristics of Consultants

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

When it comes to driving process improvements and facilitating change within an organization, the selection of consultants is a critical step. These individuals play a pivotal role in ensuring successful implementations both at their specific facilities and throughout the wider organization. For those in charge of choosing employees to act as internal consultants, the following criteria are essential to consider:

1. Voluntary Participation

Effective internal consultants should be more than just willing participants; they should be enthusiastic about the role. While skepticism is natural and shouldn't be a disqualifying factor, genuine willingness to participate is key. Forced participation rarely yields positive results.

2. Respected Among Peers and Managers

The chosen internal consultants should command respect based on their expertise, knowledge, and proven track record, not merely their popularity. Respect from both peers and managers is crucial for their recommendations and actions to be taken seriously.

3. Experience in the Field

While it's not necessary to choose only long-standing employees, the selected individuals should have enough experience to thoroughly understand the organization's operations, culture, and specific safety challenges.

4. Demonstrated Commitment to Safety

Ideal candidates may not necessarily have a spotless safety record, but they must show a serious commitment to safety principles. Those who have learned from past incidents often bring valuable insights and enhanced credibility when discussing safety issues.

5. Openness to Learning and Adaptation

Internal consultants should be open-minded and adaptable to new methods and approaches. Resistance to change can be a significant barrier in a leadership role, so selecting those who are receptive to new ideas is crucial.

6. Collaborative and Team-Oriented

The ability to work collaboratively and build consensus is essential. Candidates known for stubbornness or difficulty in cooperating with colleagues are not suitable for these roles.

7. Proactive and Initiative-Taking

The best internal consultants are self-motivated and have demonstrated initiative in their projects or through additional assignments. Their proactive approach is vital for driving effective change.

8. Effective Communication Skills

Good communication skills are non-negotiable. While they don't need to be polished public speakers, they should be able to articulate ideas and concepts clearly and effectively to various audiences within the organization.

9. Problem-Solving Abilities

Internal consultants are tasked with analyzing data and identifying solutions, especially in the context of safety. Individuals with proven problem-solving skills are prime candidates if they meet the other criteria.

10. Organizational Skills

Given that internal consultants often handle multiple roles and responsibilities, strong organizational skills are a must. Those who have shown the ability to manage tasks efficiently are likely to excel in these roles.

Selecting the right people with these key characteristics is vital for the success of any internal consulting initiative. Effective internal consultants are instrumental in driving change, enhancing safety, and contributing significantly to the overall improvement of an organization’s operations and culture. By carefully considering these attributes, companies can set the stage for successful transformations and continued growth.

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