I know, I know. If I were not 72 going on 73, I would recommend that someone who is shopping for an OD consultant ensure that the potential candidates are equally female, male and bi-sexual. And perhaps a candidate who thinks that Zelensky is the new Churchill. However…
Since I come from a different generation, I want to suggest some questions and issues you clarify when choosing a potential OD consultant.
- Does your candidate have domain experience relevant to your firm? If you run an insurance agency, an OD consultant with 30 years’ experience in petroleum will not be effective. Domain experience is critical in the present level of complexity and competitiveness. Don’t anyone tell you otherwise.
- Do you like the candidate? As India-based guru Joseph George points out in his comments to this post, this “liking” can lead to a slippery slope given the parallel requirement of choosing a no nonsense consultant, which is also discussed below. Furthermore, I say this even though I personally am an acquired taste. However, if there is not enough initial personal chemistry, my advice is to think twice. So much of the OD dialogue is based on trust that working against your own intuition is not worth the risk. Let me give an example. If I were to meet a consultant who was late for a meeting and did not apologize, corrected my use of traditional gender pronouns, and used sloppy grammar, I would cut the conversation short.
- If your candidate wants to conduct remote interviews or Zoom sessions even some of the time, forget it. Face to face interactions with an OD consultant are as important as are face to face interactions with a dentist.
- Is your candidate willing to clearly define goals and eventual results in the initial meetings beyond the basic generic nature of the OD process (which must be made clear up front)? If so, don’t hire because it cannot be done. Project goals emerge slowly over time and shift /sway.
- Does the candidate appear to be a pleaser? If so, be careful-because OD people must challenge & authority. They should not be compliant or pleasers.
- If your staff is ethnically or internationally diverse, if your candidate culturally fluent? Or is he or she a captive of the culture into which he was born? Give this quiz when in doubt.