One of the most important things a consultant can do for your organizations is ask questions. Lots of questions. Questions you haven’t thought of. Questions that stretch you, excite you and can even give you a headache! Why are questions so important? Because they are the starting point for helping you find the answers that work for your organization.
Consulting is not a “one size fits all” kind of endeavor. Some organizations needs nuts and bolts information on daily operations or training for board and staff. They may be planning for leadership succession or need help with creating a fundraising plan. The knowledge, experience and resources of a consultant can be invaluable in dealing with the immediate request.
But what if the need isn’t really for a fundraising plan? What if the consultant also finds out through careful questions that the Executive and Board Chair are at odds, the organization has no plan for its future other than survival, and the Board is in chaos? Now there is an opportunity to look together at the options that may be most helpful for the organization’s health and community impact.
Annual board retreats and strategic planning sessions are traditional times for asking questions about the needs of the community, the future of the organization and creating the steps needed to achieve identified goals. A consultant can help frame the questions, provide the facilitation structure to keep everyone focused and provide perspective. Through the power of questions, organizational leaders are able to work together, sharing their own knowledge, experience and wisdom.
Questions, then are the key to creating the kind of organization and community that you envision. Next lets consider the kinds of questions you’ll want to ask before hiring a consultant.