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Explaining Consultant Levels image

Introduction

In the last blog post, entitled “What Is A Consultant?”, we discussed the idea that there are three different types and levels of consultant.

As a result, I have been asked the question “How can I tell the difference between a level 1, 2 or 3 consultant?” and “What sets them apart?”

In the previous blog post, I was trying to create definitions so that it would be easy to understand later blog posts, as I intended this to be part of a series of posts explaining what a consultant does and how they do it. To that end, we will delve into a little more detail which will hopefully makes things much clearer.

Once again, in order to do this, we must first settle on some terminology. When I refer to somebody as a junior, this is purely from the perspective of experience. It has nothing to do with the persons age or their ability. So, let’s get to it.

Type/Level 1

Typically, a Type/Level 1 consultant could be a junior person, with regards to their experience. They might well be working under the supervision or guidance of somebody with much more experience. This situation is very common in the largest consultancy firms. The household names such as EY (Ernst & Young), Deloitte, Accenture and KPMG would all have a mixed team of people. In this situation, it is quite common for the junior to do most of the work.

Type/Level 2

A Type/Level 2 consultant could easily be someone such as a retired bank manager. In this case they have a great deal of knowledge and have worked with many businesses in the past. However, they typically lack the detailed practical side. What do I mean by this, well it is straightforward, when discussing with a small business a bank manager typically has never experienced the snake pits that are associated with a small micro-sized business. This can include all manner of things such as stress on making payroll, delaying holidays because the staff member is ill. This is because the bank manager actually worked for a large corporation and all of the details that a SME (small and medium enterprise) must deal with on a regular basis are not present in a large corporation. This in no way diminishes the knowledge or experience of the ex-bank manager, it is simply in a different type of experience.

Type/Level 3

A Type/Level 3 consultant, as I’m sure you can guess, it Is going to be a professional consultant who has been practising what they do for years. They will have a deep theoretical understanding of the business, because they have done that, being there and got the scars. From a practical perspective, it means that the consultant who is helping and advising SME should have a lot of experience within a small and medium enterprise. They should have run such a business, employed staff, dealt with the trials and tribulations of the IT and relevant technology. In short, they should have done all this before. This does not mean, that what they are consulting on for you is exactly the same as they have done before, as every business is different with unique challenges and opportunities. What you are leveraging, is the wealth of knowledge and practical experience that they have.


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