Consultants: Are They Really Worth the Money?

The past several years have seen a growth in outsourcing and an increase in the number of consultants of varying types. The bad economy has spurred the growth of entrepreneurship as people realize that jobs just aren’t there and start their own businesses instead. The government and many companies see outsourcing as way to reduce overhead costs and purchase services as needed.The interesting thing is that there is no certifying body or job qualification to becoming a consultant. You’re a consultant if you say you are and if someone is willing to pay you for your services.So with all the money being spent on consultants, it begs the question, “Are they really worth it?”Contractor or Consultant?An educated consumer is my best salesperson. However, many people don’t really know what they are buying when they hire a consultant. I personally make a distinction between contracting and consulting.Contracting involves the performance of a specific task and is characterized by an emphasis on deliverables and hourly rates. For example, the contractor may be asked to develop a specific plan or report or provide training. While there are exceptions, most of this type of work involves tasks that are well within the capability of the client organization. In essence, the contractor is doing work that the client could be doing but cannot do because of lack of time or resources.The problem with contracting work is that it is focused on a predetermined deliverable. Further, the deliverable can usually be developed by any competent contractor. This means that the contractor has very little latitude for creativity and hence must compete on the basis of price rather than expertise.Consulting is something quite different. As a consultant, my goal is to improve my client’s condition. My focus is not on specific deliverables but on the end result the client wants to achieve.Let me give you an example of what I mean. A client decides that his or her company needs an emergency plan and decides to hire a consultant. A contractor approaches the project by studying the requirements of the plan and estimating the hours required to produce the plan. A consultant realizes that the actual output is not the plan but increasing the company’s ability to respond to an emergency.This can be a hard sell sometimes. I once lost a potential contract because the client felt that I was asking their organization to do some work. They just wanted someone to revise a plan to meet an administrative requirement.Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against contracting work or suggesting that it is somehow bad. I actually do a fair bit of contract work, usually as a subcontractor to a larger firm. But during these types of assignments I am just another member of a team. I am neither particularly challenged by them nor is the client getting the full value I could provide.Who’s the Expert?A common misconception is that a consultant must always be an expert in your particular field. This is certainly true in many cases. However, particularly when you’re working with contractors, the individual working with you may not have any real expert knowledge. They may indeed have a background in your particular field, such as being a retired emergency manager, but that does not necessarily translate to expert knowledge nor to any special training in consulting practices.So who is the real expert? Actually, it’s you. You’re the one with expert knowledge about your field, your organization, and your problem. A consultant brings experience cleaned from working with other clients but will never have the in-depth knowledge that you possess.The fact is many consultants, myself included, are what we call “process consultants”. Our strength is not expert knowledge in your field but the skill set that we bring to your project.What this means is that a consultant can guide you through a process that leverages your expert knowledge to help you achieve your desired outcome. We help you build on your organizational strengths to achieve the results you are seeking.If there is a need for expert knowledge in a particular area, a good consultant will be able to access a network of professionals to find the information you need, much like a general practice physician will consult specialists.Because many clients don’t understand this concept, they tend to narrow their options by only considering consultants with specific knowledge, experience, and/or certifications. There are times when this is appropriate and necessary but in many cases the demonstrated skill set a consultant brings to your project may well be more important than specific knowledge of your industry.Working with ConsultantsTrue consulting work is about relationships. What will set one consultant above another is the level of trust that the consultant engenders in the client. If you have the slightest doubt about the ethics of a consultant or his or her ability to help you achieve your desired end state, get someone else.The relationship extends to how you work together. Unlike a contractor, a consultant is your peer, not a just a hired hand. You’re paying for the consultant’s advice and counsel, so make use of it. The consultant is a guide who helps you through the process to achieve your goals but this means you have to be part of that process. If your total involvement is to review deliverables prepared by the consultant, you are not getting your money’s worth.This doesn’t mean that you can let a consultant have free rein to do as he or she pleases. It is important to agree up front on metrics for progress. These are not the same as deliverables, by the way. They can be performance milestones or comparative surveys. The important thing is that you mutually agree on how you will define the success of the project and the metrics you will use to demonstrate that success.Getting More ValueOnce you understand these facts about consultants, you can make more informed decisions and get more value for your consulting dollars.Begin by looking at your project and defining what it is you want to accomplish. Forget the deliverables for the moment. You must first understand your expected outcomes. Once you have done this you can consider whether a specific deliverable is the true measure of achieving that outcome. You can also determine whether you need a consultant or a contractor.A common mistake is to try and work out all details of the project in advance. Contractors like to see this as it provides them detailed information on which to base their proposal costs. Consultants are not hourly workers – we’re paid for our results, not our time. If you can describe your desired outcome and the value of the project to your organization, we can usually offer a creative solution that would work for you. Again, do not focus on deliverables but on what you’re trying to achieve.Consider what it is you need in a consultant. Does your project require specific in-depth knowledge of your industry or field or will general knowledge suffice? What skill set should the consultant bring to the project?As you assess candidates, don’t just look at resumes, certifications, and other projects of a similar type. Focus on whether the candidate has the skill set you want and whether or not you feel comfortable with him or her. For example, instead of asking, “Have you ever done a similar project?” ask how they would approach your project. Past performance on a previous project is not necessarily an indicator that the same techniques will work in your corporate environment.As you begin the project, establish your metrics up front. It’s amazing the number of times I have had a client look uncomfortable when I ask how they will measure whether I have been successful with their project. They’re uncomfortable because they haven’t really thought about the end result of the project.So are consultants worth the money? That ultimately depends on you. If you haven’t defined what you want out of the project, then you’re not getting the full value out of your consultant. If you don’t allow the consultant to propose creative solutions, you’re not getting full value. If you don’t trust your consultant and seek their advice, you’re wasting your money and the consultant’s time.It’s really up to you to answer the question.

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

A Look at How Kinesiology Can Improve Your Health

Kinesiology has been defined as the science of kinesiology. Simply put, kinesiology is the study of physical activity or movement. An understanding of kinesiology can be helpful in an incredible number of non-related settings such as the study of sports, kinesiology exercise physiology, human anatomy, physiology, physical conditioning, rehabilitation, and numerous other health-related issues. It can also help those who are trying to get fit or maintain their health.

One can use a basic understanding of kinesiology to examine several common problems that people have such as excessive sweating, difficulty urinating, and difficulty breathing. The most common symptoms associated with these conditions are at an increased pulse rate, dizziness, nausea, or a combination of these. These symptoms are caused by a variety of imbalances in the muscles and tissues that are located around the heart, lungs, and abdomen. By examining these areas in patients who have undergone treatment for one of these conditions, it can be easier to determine the cause and find a solution. It is not uncommon for patients to undergo an extensive amount of medical testing before being prescribed a treatment plan, which is why an understanding of kinesiology will be very helpful. It is important to become an expert in this field due to the fact that there are so many different kinds of treatment available and that not all of them are appropriate for everyone.

Suggested article: Kinesiology Association

A kinesiologist is trained to help diagnose and treat many conditions and diseases that affect the autonomic nervous system, which is why the majority of kinesiology students choose to specialize in this field. While there are various ways that kinesiology can be performed, the three most common ways are through the administration of electric shock treatments, electrotherapy, and massage techniques. Each of these has its own benefits as well as risks. Treating an individual with an electric shock is one of the most commonly performed methods of kinesiology and has been around since the 1950s. However, it is important to note that while this method is widely used, it is far from ideal due to the fact that there is no control over the electric current that is used and it can cause permanent damage to the tissue that it is targeting.

Electrotherapy and massage techniques both use stimulation of the muscles to encourage contractions in order to achieve a desired health condition. While electrotherapy targets specific muscles and regulates the flow of electric current throughout them, massage techniques allow the practitioner to loosen tight muscles and stimulate blood flow throughout the body. Both of these techniques are used to stimulate and improve the health and function of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, kinesiology treats the muscles holistically, which means that there are no specific problems that must be treated or avoided. This type of treatment allows the practitioner to identify the areas of concern and work together with the patient in order to achieve the best results possible.

Kinesiology has some common components that include muscle balance, kinesiology motor skills, and stress management. Muscle balance refers to the ability of the body to coordinate and maintain the proper functioning of all of the muscles and joints. Proper muscle balance also allows for optimal performance and proper health. For example, if one part of a muscle is weak, it will not perform as efficiently as another part that is stronger. This is where kinesiology may come into play.

Suggested article: KA Shop

Kinesiology muscle monitoring is a process where the medical professional monitors the activity of a specific muscle as it is being contracted. The purpose of this is to determine any changes or disruptions in the muscle activity as well as changes in the force used to push it through the range of motion. When these changes are found, the practitioner will then evaluate the patient for possible stress-related conditions. Stress can have a significant impact on the health of an individual and can often lead to tension in the back, neck, and other muscles. By monitoring the activities of the muscles, the practitioner is able to identify the problem areas and develop a treatment plan to address them.

One aspect of physical fitness that many people do not think about is kinesiology. While it is not an exercise science in the strictest sense, it is an exercise science that can provide significant health benefits through improved body mechanics and overall conditioning. In fact, some of the most successful personal trainers and athletes utilize kinesiology methods and philosophies. For example, world record better-broken track and field events often incorporate some element of kinesiology into their practice. As a matter of fact, track and field events were once considered an unfit activity because of the excessive amount of time that the athlete spent in the field running back and forth.

Today, kinesiology plays a large role in improving the performance of athletes both amateur and professional. It also serves as a tool for improving the overall health and conditioning of the human body. Although it has been around for a relatively long time, there are very few instructors teaching the principles and techniques that kinesiology contains. Because of this, many individuals are unaware of how to use the techniques that kinesiology contains to improve their athletic performance and health.