Mentors, yes. Consultants, no. Do your own thinking. You are in the field, the consultants aren't. The way to analyzing your business dispassionately is simple: What would an observer from the sky think looking at your business? What is really your business? Why aren't you anymore good at your business? What are the 6-7 most pressing issues in your company and industry?
Scott Berkun says about the ills of consultants,
1. They are trying to deceive me. If they know what they are selling is advice on managing creative people, but they insist on calling it ‘ideation flow’, an ‘idea capitalization market’, or some corny trademarked term like ‘Ideaness(tm)’...
2. They believe their own bullshit. Consultants do have to differentiate themselves and make claims – I get it. But some consultants have lost all ties to reality – they pathologically believe in their own hype and will die before confessing a simpler story of their work exists. If after a ten minute conversation I can’t get someone to stop using trademarked phrases, made up words with too many hyphens, or concede some of their clients get less value out of their efforts than they claim, I can only conclude they’re nuts.
3. They have no idea what they are talking about. Some consultants have never done the things they consult on...so instead of banking on their experience, or even their knowledge of the experience of others, they make stuff up. Often it’s a magic process or system they claim will transform your organization, described in frighteningly similar terms to the latest diet craze.
[From the 100 Ways To Be Being Remarkable Series, a special project that brings you business and self-development advice from The Success Manual. ]