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How to Get the Best Results from External Resource Services

Interim Management / 6 May, 2020


I often spend time thinking about my place in serving clients and the place of my industry in serving companies. In taking a step back, I think there is an opportunity to understand the arrangement we make with our clients to provide external resource solutions.

I stepped all the way back to rationalize what created an industry of external “consultants” looking to provide all kinds of solutions. I believe a pool of resources and need to access it was born out of the “lean” movement in companies.

The “Lean” Movement

Organizations reduce excess capacities of knowledge and horsepower across the organization to meet only their most basic, recurring needs. They do this with the expectation that when the time comes for one-off needs, the organization can access the capacities needed efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.

There in lies the challenge that external “consultants” have experienced. Efficiency and cost effectiveness is what makes this arrangement work.

For this arrangement to work, these charters must be embraced by the consultant and the client. I look across to my peers in the marketplace (and even back to my early consulting experience), and I believe we have a ways to go before this concept is fully embraced or even understood.

An efficient and cost effective model means that resources need to align with an organizations’ strategic goals & objectives and be held accountable to those that are assigned to them, just like any other organization team member.

We, as external resources, need to:

  1. Be well informed of the clients’ environment of systems, people and processes.
  2. Clearly define the goals and objectives of service.
  3. Actively and concisely communicate our progress on those goals.
  4. Transition our work back to the client for continued performance.

Our clients should:

  1. Maintain awareness of potential needs with their resource provider.
  2. Utilize defined scope engagements to limit scope creep.
  3. Define scope of work budgets.

The VIP Solutions Model

With this understanding, we have developed a consulting service offering that solves our charter and, as much as is possible, empowers our clients to perform their end of the “arrangement”. We utilize weekly progress updates that define goals & objectives, task progress, roadblocks, and identify non-scope requests. We provide this dashboard view each week in an email that focuses our clients’ attention on the charters of our service.

In doing so, we believe we’ve improved upon the external resource/client arrangement, making the relationship mutually beneficial and most likely to produce positive results. Watch our feature on the We Are VIP Podcast below to learn more about our approach, and reach out to our experienced resources to partner with us today.


Managing Director of Client Services