These five key success factors will help you maximize your likelihood of success when working with a consultant.

Clarity: Absolute, clear understanding about what you intend to accomplish in a consulting engagement and the process you and the consultant will employ to accomplish it. Be sure that you are as clear and explicit as possible when writing a Request for Proposal (RFP), and be sure that your consultant’s written proposal completely and accurately reflects the scope of work and role they will play.

Communication: Direct, honest and complete communication between the consultant and your organization’s staff and board throughout the engagement. Good communication between you and your consultant may be the single most critical factor affecting the quality of your relationship and the outcome of your project.

Chemistry: While a consultant’s experience and qualifications are essential to the success of your project, do not underestimate how important it is for you, your project leadership and the consultant to click. This intangible fit between people can make or break your project.

Collaboration: Ownership and investment must be shared with the consultant to ensure good work, but ultimate control must be retained by the organization’s leadership, who are accountable for final results and implementation.

Capacity Building: Most successful consulting engagements not only meet specific and current needs for your organization, but also build your organization’s capacity to meet such needs independently in the future. Be explicit about your desire for active learning and transfer of knowledge during the consulting engagement if this is one of your consulting goals.