Decoding Consulting Practices
In this article, Anna Engstromer explains how applying consulting practices to organizations can improve operational performance.
Much value of consulting can be de-coded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding.
I’ve served four dozen clients on almost the same number of topics, over a dozen years, across a dozen countries. Apart from a few basic trainings, I wasn’t really taught how to do it, but learned on the job, from and with colleagues and clients. Accenture Partners and client staff helped me pick up on value generation, developing people and effective and efficient ways of working. McKinsey colleagues and client executives helped me sharpen the expression of problems, findings and results. The people working on either side aren’t, in my mind, much different.
I’ve worked in organizations too, in different roles and always with a great degree of change. I’ve engaged, worked with, evaluated, extended and stopped consulting engagements. I see patterns of what consultants do well in organizations and how organizations can engage consultants better. There is waste in hiring consultants in poorly fitting ways, and there is lost opportunity in not expecting “consulting-like action” from employees.
I think much of the value of consulting comes from the situation of having new people come in and purposefully address a problem. The dynamic of that situation creates a momentum and an expectation that consultant-client teams deliver on, not just because they can but because they have to. What happens after a project sometimes disappoints, for a number of reasons, one being the loss of that momentum and specific expectation.
I believe much of the value of consulting can be de-coded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding. Here are a few of the elements:
Define the Problem
Don’t start any work without a clear idea about why, followed by what. It only makes sense to solve problems that have been expressed; vague problems can be worked on perpetually and there is no measurement of resolve. There are several tools to define and structure problems and there is no need to over-complicate. Problems that are complex need to be broken down into its parts, in such a way that the answers to lower-level problems actually give the answers to the highest-level problem.
Key points include:
- Time management
- Communication skills
- Go need to know
Read the full article, De-Mystifying Consulting, on Engstromer.com.