Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Finding a consultant - remotely

In less than a month, Facilitated Systems will have been in business for eight years. I've worked with people in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas, and yet I've rarely seen a client, for I work mostly from my office.

In today's world, that has distinct advantages. For those of you not used to working remotely with a consultant, I'll list a few:

If I came to your site to work, I'd likely save up tasks until I had half a day, a full day, or perhaps several days of work at once (depending upon how far away you are), because it's more economical. That's a delay for you.

If I work remotely, you can get my attention in the size chunks you need: minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months. The delay from asking a question to getting an answer drops; if I'm available when you call, you'll start getting help immediately. If you do have to wait, the wait will likely be shorter.

You can get my help now, without waiting for me to fly, drive, or take a train. If I'm working on someone else's tasks, you need to wait for me to finish those. That's where responsiveness kicks in: if it's appropriate, you may well get some of my time starting today, rather than having to wait until I have full days available.

If I'm traveling, I'm not working for you. Sure, I try to work on planes when I can, but there is much to the travel experience that represents pure muda. Moving me to you is the essence of transportation and waiting waste.

If there's no travel, you don't pay for travel. Simple.

Carbon friendly
If I'm not traveling, I'm not generating as much CO2.

Petroleum friendly
If I'm not traveling, I'm using less petroleum.

Congestion friendly
If I'm not traveling, I don't add to traffic congestion.

If you need a team, assembling a remote, distributed team from my contacts world-wide to help you brings all these benefits in spades.

How did I discover this? You folks taught me. When I started out, I expected to spend significant time in a car or on a plane, even as I expected to do some of my work remotely using the phone, email, and other online tools. With rare exceptions, you who hired me were quite happy to have me sit here and work there. As times have changed over the last eight years, your insights seem wisely prescient.

Some tasks do require a consultant at your site. I've done that, I will do it again, and I do enjoy working together with you in person. So call if you think that's what you need.

I have also discovered that it's possible to share ideas, build trust, work on problems, and make a joint contribution without being there in person. If that's what you seek, call me, too.

Which serves you best?

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