Schnook: Meaning: (Yiddish) a gullible simpleton more to be pitied than despised

So I’m sitting in my car thinking about how truly, terrible, awful consultants continue to get business. Mind you, I’m not bitter. But I’m amazed by what otherwise smart, savvy, and experienced clients/leaders/decision makers will accept as good. And this wonderful Yiddish word came to mind. Before you sign the contract with that leadership development expert, consider these tips for staying in the schnook-free zone:

Tip #1: Check references. Really. Especially if the consultant provides them. And if they don’t give you names, numbers, and emails ask for them.

Tip #2:   Be realistic. If you’re asking someone to design and deliver a program that will take your worst communicators and turn them into sought after keynote speakers (oh, and can you do the program in 3 hours?) you’ve wasted your money and people’s time.

Tip #3: Expect pushback. A really good consultant asks questions that make you think. Really hard. Questions like, “Say we do XYZ program and we teach them how to do XYZ. What else could get in the way of the participants performing in the way you want them to back on the job?” This consultant is going to give you what you need, not necessarily what you ask for. Big difference.

Tip #4: Stay in the middle. Of the price range, that is. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and go with the lowest bidder, you’ll likely get what you pay for. If the consultant doesn’t think his/her time, experience, and know how is worth much you shouldn’t either. Likewise, expensive doesn’t always mean good. Or even competent. See Tip #1

So… check folks out, keep it real, get ready to answer the tough questions and don’t go cheap. I guarantee you’ll be a mensch in no time.