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What To Look For In A Consultant

In my time with Simplicity, I’ve met with hundreds of clients. I’ve heard their business challenges and aspirations, their pain points and their wish lists. In those conversations, I’ve also observed key commonalities in what they value in a great consultant.

Those consistent themes are the foundation of our core values, SMILE. They’re how we show up—and why our clients continue partnering with us. They’re also an incredibly useful framework for you to evaluate whether a consultant is the right resource for your team.

I’ll guide you through each of our core values (S - M - I - L - E), highlighting what to look for and why it matters.


Our guiding principles inspire us to bring our best selves to work, each and every day. These five values—Self starter, Meaningful relationships, Innovative, Learning, and Energy—represent the things that our clients have consistently asked for in our 14 years of client service. Here are the things to look for in a great consultant.

1. Self starter

This is one of the most important traits for a good consultant or on-demand resource. Regardless of experience level or role, a self-starter has the drive and internal motivation to take initiative and get things done.

What to look for:

  • Action oriented
  • Self directed
  • Service mindset

What to ask: How have you been proactive in past projects?

2. Meaningful relationships

Our business was built on relationships, and we and our consultants strive to add value in every interaction and in every relationship. Building meaningful relationships will enable your consultant to earn trust and establish rapport with project stakeholders—essentials for the project’s success.

What to look for:

  • Integrity
  • Trustworthiness
  • Active listening

What to ask: How do you add value in your professional interactions and roles?

3. Innovative

Yes, it’s a buzzword, but an innovative approach is a differentiator in today’s fast-paced digital world. An innovative mindset will enable a consultant to think big and offer unique solutions.

What to look for:

  • Fresh perspective
  • Problem solving skills
  • Collaborative approach

What to ask: Are you a creative problem solver? How?

4. Learning

We encourage a growth mindset in our staff and consultants. That appetite for lifelong learning translates to an expert who’s constantly retooling their skills and staying up-to-date with the latest tools, approaches, and techniques. That also means the humility to admit mistakes and recognize others’ areas of expertise.

What to look for:

  • Continuous self-improvement
  • Openness to change
  • Growth mindset
  • Ongoing up-leveling of skills

What to ask: What are you curious about? What areas are you looking to grow and improve?

5. Energy

Last but not least, let’s have a little fun! An infection infectious attitude and a willingness to jump in and contribute goes a long way. Look for that spark to find an expert that’s truly right for your team and the work.

What to look for:

  • Positive, can-do attitude
  • Valuable contributions
  • Contagious fun

What to ask: How do you recharge? What helps you be your best self every day?

We wrote the e[book] on client success

Want more resources? Now that you know what to look for in a consultant, download our 7 Habits of Highly Successful Hiring Managers eBook to get the definitive guidelines for repeatable project success.

Find your next consultant

When you’re ready to put our on-demand experts to work for you, let’s talk.

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