Is A Consultant And Strategist The Same?

Is A Consultant And Strategist The Same

Consultants and strategists play distinct roles within organizations, although their functions can sometimes overlap. The primary difference lies in their focus areas and the nature of their work.

Here’s a breakdown of how each role typically functions…


  • Broad Expertise – Consultants possess expertise in a specific field, such as management, finance, HR, or IT. They are often hired to solve specific problems, improve efficiencies, or implement changes within an organization.
  • Problem-Solving Focus – The primary role of a consultant is to analyze problems, propose solutions, and sometimes assist in the implementation of these solutions. They are often brought in for their ability to provide an external, objective perspective on organizational challenges.
  • Project-Based Work – Consulting work is usually project-based, with a defined scope and timeline. Consultants may work with an organization for a short to medium term, focusing on achieving specific outcomes or milestones.
  • Advisory Role – Consultants offer advice and recommendations based on best practices and their professional experience. They may conduct analyses, audits, or assessments to inform their advice.


  • Strategic Planning – Strategists focus on long-term planning and the overall direction of an organization. They are involved in crafting strategies that align with the organization’s goals, mission, and vision.
  • Vision and Direction – The role of a strategist is to look at the bigger picture and help guide the organization towards future growth and success. This involves understanding market trends, competitive landscapes, and internal capabilities.
  • Internal Focus – Unlike consultants, who may work with multiple organizations across different industries, strategists are often employed within a single organization. Their work is deeply integrated into the organizational fabric, influencing decision-making at the highest levels.
  • Execution and Implementation – Strategists may also be involved in the execution of strategies, ensuring that plans are translated into actionable steps and that the organization remains aligned with its strategic objectives over time.

Overlapping Functions

In practice, the roles of consultants and strategists can overlap. For example:

  • Strategic Consultants – Some consultants specialize in strategic consulting, offering services that blend problem-solving with strategic planning.
  • Internal Consultants – Organizations sometimes have internal consultants or strategy departments that function similarly to external consultants but are focused on continuous improvement and strategic planning.

The key difference lies in the scope and nature of their work: consultants are generally focused on solving specific problems or improving specific areas within an organization, often with a clear endpoint, while strategists are concerned with the long-term direction and strategy of the organization, with a focus on sustained growth and competitiveness.

Choosing between hiring a consultant or a strategist—or leveraging both—depends on the organization’s current needs, challenges, and long-term goals.