Consultant - Advisor || Tomato - Plum

Posted by Michael Penney on

I was not a consultant to the Afghan Uniformed Police, I was an advisor.

You think I know anything about how to police an Afghan population, or enforce their rule of law? I do not. My expertise fall within the enabling skill sets that one must master in order to accomplish the mission of policing and governing a population.

Consultant  -- Advisor
Tomato --  Plum

They are both round fruits but bite into each one and you’ll have two totally different experiences.

Business consultants understand the industry, market, and target customer you are seeking. They may have expertise in how to run your business model or entire operation. Perhaps they have so much working knowledge that they could become a fractional member of your leadership team (e.g. “Fractional CFO”). They are typically “saltier”- meaning they have working experience in your field, and they compliment your long term operations.

Advisors assess, train, advise, and assist with the intention of empowering your organization then leaving. They are quick and decisive. They are experts in their specific application of a process, system, or function. They make work “short and sweet” with long term on-call support for your leaders (at least 5 Paragraph does). The Advisor’s goal is your mastery of a methodology.

Some say the terms are intertwined. I personally believe they are forever separate because I was not a consultant to the Afghan Uniformed Police. Not only am I not a law enforcement professional, I know more about weapons than I do about police work. The role I played as an advisor was to simply work with the Afghans to improve their ability to provide government support; that is to say handle conflict resolution between two parties.  I helped train them well and made sure they could handle their responsibilities, to their own standard, then left.

Advisors aren’t here to tell you how to operate your business.

Advisors are here to empower you with tools, skills, knowledge, and the attitude that’s necessary to run your business - the rest is up to you.


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