Levittown, NY (PressExposure) April 16, 2009 -- Some of these characteristics include: professionalism, knowledge, integrity, availability, reliability and several others. Selecting and hiring a consultant is not an easy process or decision; yet, it is crucial for companies to make wise choices, particularly when a consultant will have a direct impact on a company's productivity. The Productivity Institute, LLC, assists organizations in locating and retaining the best consultants. It frequently conducts industry surveys, both independently and in conjunction with The National Networker.
In the survey, respondents were asked to select the three consulting characteristics they deemed most important. Surprisingly, the most important deciding characteristic that over 53% of the respondents selected was excellent communication skills, surpassing such traditionally predictable areas as honesty and technical knowledge. This is very significant.
Paul Wieners, Vice President at Computer Horizons Group, a rapidly growing telecommunications company, explains it this way: "We have had excellent results from our consultants in part because of their knowledge, but mostly because of our ability to communicate our requirements to them and their ability to understand and communicate back to us what they can do to meet those requirements."
The ability to work with others was the second most important consulting characteristic, having been selected by 45% of the respondents. This was not surprising since the ability to work with others and good communication skills go hand in hand. What was surprising was that these two characteristics far outdistanced the third most important consulting characteristic: experience. Apparently, in this challenging economy, interpersonal and social skills have become every bit as important (if not more so) than technical skills and experience.
"Good communication and the ability to work with others are essential to the success of almost every position," states Bruce Newman, Vice President at The Productivity Institute. "These are both essential characteristics that you find in outstanding consultants who complete jobs and improve a company's productivity. Just possessing the appropriate knowledge and experience is no longer adequate. This is quite a departure from the 80's and early 90's where social and interpersonal skills were hardly given any consideration in the selection of consultants.
"In this frightening economy, where consultants are playing a more important and visible role than ever before, the Human Factors have become a more important decision criterion than they ever had been before. The consultants most in demand are those who are skilled listeners, speakers and team players. For businesses to survive and to thrive in this oppressive economic environment, they are looking for consultants who can play more of a coordinating and leadership role. Consultants have become much more than 'brains for hire.'