Internal Consultant? Not Yet...

Laura has experience with big four consulting organizations; was a managing director at a start-up international technology consulting organization that provided off-shore services; and currently is the owner of LAD Enterprizes, a management and information technology company. She provides project management services and training to assist organizations in realizing their goals through projects.

I’m frequently asked by project managers: “How do I become a recognized and respected internal consultant?” The answer is not simple due to an organization’s culture, its utilization of external consultants and its project management approach—as well as how the project managers themselves impact how (and if) they are viewed as an internal consultant.

To understand how to be viewed as an internal consultant, start by understanding the similarities and differences between internal and external consultants—and your organization’s view of consultants. Then, design a strategy enabling you to move into the trusted advisor role known as an internal consultant.

One of the first challenges is that the term “consultant” means different things to different people. Some people classify subcontractors as consultants. For example, a CIO is short programming staff, so a subcontractor—a “consultant”—is hired to fill the gap. Other people refer to consultants as trusted advisors. For example, a CIO needs assistance with the development of a technical strategic plan, so an expert technological advisor (a “consultant”) is hired. Although many in our society refer to subcontractors and trusted advisors as consultants, the question posed to me refers to the internal trusted advisor consultant. This …

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"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."

- Francis Bacon