Consulting has already been part and parcel of business for more than a century.
Global management consulting market reached 132.6 billion dollars in the USA in 2016 according to the research of Statista agency.However, experience has shown that not all the companies are satisfied with the results of expensive projects.
Representatives of clients on different organisation levels face a situation, when project results do not meet neither their expectations, nor amounts of money spent on them. This problem has existed since the very appearance of consulting services and in 1982 A.N. Turner published an article "Consulting is more than giving advice", in which he described the ways of solving this problem. The problems and solutions described in the article are relevant even 35 years later, please see its summary below.
Often, customers believe that the cost of projects allows to transfer the entire amount of work to consultants without involving their employees at all. Because of such approach, a huge number of projects fail, and the client's employees do not see any usefulness in them.
A.N. Turner identified a spectrum of services which consulting companies can provide and structured them in the form of a pyramid:
Providing information is the basic service of consulting. This service includes carrying out researches, searching for the best practices, and analysis of the market. However, often a client does not think about the purpose of obtaining information. Author gives an example, when CEO of a company requested a study on necessity of hiring assistants for each of the vice presidents. Companies rejected the project referring to the fact that in case of identifying inefficiency, it will not be possible to take a management decision and reduce the number of assistants.
Therefore, before hiring consulting companies, determine the following items:
Make sure that consultants use all their resources and provide information based on an analysis of the prerequisites existing in your company; otherwise, information will be useless.
Clients often hire consulting companies for difficult questions. For example, decision making on merger or acquisition, changing a marketing strategy, transforming the organisation, creation of financial policy or choosing methods for increasing efficiency.
In the projects of this sort, follow the next steps:
You must understand that neither a solution to the wrong problem nor a solution that won’t be implemented is helpful.
A significant part of the consulting projects is diagnosis. Nevertheless, the process by which an accurate diagnosis is conducted sometimes strains the consultant-client relationship, since managers are often fearful of uncovering difficult situations for which they might be blamed.
By launching the project, follow the next steps:
You must plan the work during the project in the way so that your employees have an opportunity and interest for its successful completion.
The engagement is usually concluded with a written report or oral presentation that summarizes what the consultant has learned and that recommends in some detail what the client should do. Firms devote a great deal of effort to designing their reports so that the information and analysis are clearly presented and the recommendations are convincingly related to the diagnosis on which they are based. Though this approach to the result may sound logical, this setup in many ways is a cause of ineffective recommendations implementation.
At the final review of recommendations on the project results, you should remember the following:
This service is effective only with the active participation of the client's employees and with mandatory monitoring of implementation by the consultant.
If the ultimate client’s goal is to implement solutions, this must be reflected in all phases of the project.
A consultant will often ask for a second engagement to assist with implementation. However, if the process to this point has not involved active collaboration with client’s team, then it will be useless to go for implantation. Shift in the nature of the relationship with the consultants will be understood as external pressure causing resistance in the company.
If you ordered the implementation project, make sure the following:
Clients, as well as consultants, often lose sight of point’s importance. Without building consensus and commitment, each result of the work is at risk: the diagnosis won’t be accepted, recommendations won’t be implemented, and valid data may be withheld.
Activities aimed at strengthening the client's team should be included in the contract, so that the consultants were obliged to think of support within the company.
For the success of the project, follow the next steps:
The added value of any project consists not only in the results themselves, but also in improving the skills of the client's employees. Make sure that your employees understand every detail of every step in the project.
Additionally, you can gain:
Enhancement of organisational effectiveness is the ability to adapt future strategy and tactics to external and internal change and to optimize the contribution of the organization’s human resources.
When going for the project, make sure the following:
The methods of interaction with consultants described in the publication are the basic solutions of project management.
Our company provides services of supporting the consulting projects, helping clients to organize work in the most effective way. As a result of our work, you can correctly set the task, plan interaction with the consulting companies and be confident in the effective and successful completion.