26SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Kirk Drake Kirk Drake is founder and CEO of Ongoing Operations, LLC, a rapidly growing CUSO that provides complete business continuity and technology solutions. With its recent acquisition of Cloudworks, Ongoing Operations … Web: www.ongoingoperations.com Details Credit Unions love investing in their people, but that doesn’t stop them from hiring consultants. Lots of consultants. Consultants can be great, and sometimes, they can prove not so great. With ever increasing threats from regulation, cyber security, fintechs and underling business model challenges – The question of when to hire a consultant arises more and more frequently. Over the years, Ongoing Operations has struggled to hire and find the right consultants at the right times. Luckily, we’ve found consultants to successfully serve specific functions such as babysitting (we need it sometimes) us through a solution, working us through a benchmark, or taking work off our plate. Here are the five types of situations where it’s been beneficial for us to bring in a consultant: You are in need of specialized knowledge you don’t haveMaybe you have a sophisticated fraud issue. Maybe you need some cyber expertise, a DR plan or some help on your investment portfolio. Outside consultants have specialties and depth in subjects that can help avoid major pitfalls. After all, they’ve had the breadth of solving similar problems multiple times over. In addition, they can help establish a framework or toolkit that gets you running quickly and points your team in the right direction without sticking around forever. Last year, Ongoing Operations brought in Joey Coleman, a consultant to help our team find repetitive service defects and institute a process to identify and treat service breakdowns. The results were amazing. In a single expensive day, we worked through huge volumes of experience and quickly improved many key areas. Joey helped spawn lots of light bulbs all over the organization and his depth of expertise was not something we could never organically develop. You have a major issueWhether a PR issue, a service issue, a team issue or an audit-related issue, whatever it is, a consultant can help by bringing their expertise to attack a problem efficiently and effectively. Sometimes it takes an outside individual to demand the attention of boards and management teams, driving them to get down and dirty quickly in order to put an issue to bed once and for all.You need to deliver bad newsI don’t love this one, but a lot of times consultants are brought in to deliver bad news or critical messages. Having an outsider take the ire of a committee or board is a great way to deflect the pain, deliver the message, and move on. The team, board, or auditor may dislike the person for a long-time to come because they delivered an uncomfortable lesson – but either way – you are free to join in the cause with your colleagues while accomplishing a key task. You need improvement in a specific areaHiring a consultant to help you improve in a key area is a great idea. Having the awareness of a particular goal or differentiator, then finding an expert for the purposes of fine tuning or tweaking what you are already good at, can really help your credit union move from good to great. We have seen this work firsthand by helping credit unions with network designs, cyber security roadmaps, disaster recovery plans and many other areas. As consultants these are great projects too – they push us to get better when someone is already a believer and good at what we do and we can always find more ways to define success and improve for our clients! You’d like to provide training for your teamMaybe you just did a core conversion or maybe you are trying to improve your digital experience. Either way, it may make sense to hire a consultant who is skilled at training people, and who can coach your entire staff at once (or individually). A coach, trainer or consultant will not only have the materials to facilitate learning quickly they will often have scorecards, frameworks, and how-to materials that accelerate the learning much faster. There is nothing better than getting 20 stories that prevent 20 problems. Innovation is often just the next conclusion based on the last path taken – a consultant can help you see 20 more paths down the road that you then don’t have to stumble through!These are the five types of situations in which we have benefitted from hire consultants. A lot of these situations can be interconnected. For example, you probably desire someone with specialized knowledge to attack a specific problem or train your team in a specific area. If you are wondering whether you should hire a consultant and you can link it back to one or more of these five reasons, then chances are, you should go for it.Working with a consultant in pretty much any area of the credit union can help contain long-term costs, train your team, establish frameworks, deliver hard messages, and help you achieve success much faster than organically learning and fumbling along your journey!