Friday, March 9, 2007

Who took the 'consult' out of 'consulting'?

I've recently seen more and more examples of a trend in our industry that alarms me.

I've witnessed more than one example of e-Learning and LMS consultants who are hired by an organization to help select a vendor and create a deployment strategy. These practitioners then simply present 3-4 solutions that they have "referral" relationships with, see which one sticks and collect a check (from the client and the vendor).

I liken this to hiring someone to help you buy a car. They take your money, drop you off at an auto mall, hand you some bus fare and then come back later to collect a fee from whatever dealer you chose to buy from.

I don't mean to speak in generalities, and certainly not to discredit the professionals in our field who are providing a valuable service to their clients. I'm just worried that some folks may be taking the path of least resistance/quickest fee. I've seen some instances where 3 of 4 solutions presented fall completely outside of the clients requirements, or are priced exponentially out of the clients budget range.

I say with conviction that professionals in our space have a tremendously noble role and provide great value to the training & development community. I'd like to see that continually reinforced by the actions of our peers.

If you find yourself in a position of trusted advisor to an organization, take it seriously. We've had enough ruined reputations and dysfunctional buying practices during the 1st generation of e-Learning. It's our responsibility to help organizations put highly effective solutions in place. Pretend it was your money and job on the line.

If you find yourself in a position to retain the services of a professional consultant, be clear on your expectations of the work to be performed and be sure the consultant's goals are aligned with yours. You can even take it a step further, tie a portion of the compensation to the projects success and ask for disclosure of terms of relationships between presented solutions and the consultant.

My two cents, as unpopular as they may be. We're all responsible for the ongoing health of the training & development profession, lets take good care of it!


P.S. - You may have noticed that from post to post I alternate between "eLearning" and "e-Learning". Have we as a community agreed upon one or the other? Am I the only one?

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