CONSULTING IS MORE THAN ADVICE
Most people including executives, business owners often see consulting as mere giving advice, but consulting is more than that. Business executives see consultants as people who prolong their assignment while, consultants see them as rigid people. However, if mangers and consultants work together as partners in resolving organisations problems, a greater result will be achieved quickly.
There is staggering failure rate among businesses , yet most of them see consulting as a cost rather than an investment.
This article is born out of current research on the causes of business mortality. It also stems from our experience consulting for businesses and developing growth plans for organisations. This experience led us to put together this article focused on clarifying the benefits of consulting to an organisation. When clarity meet with purpose both parties are more likely to work effectively each lead to organisational growth and development.
Consulting includes a broad range of activities like; Problem Diagnosis, Data Collection, Human Resource, Marketing, Sales, Financial Account, Organisational Development. However, the more useful way of analysing an organisation or business is to consider its purpose, clarity about goals.
Fundamental Objectives of Consulting
Consulting’s eight fundamental objectives arranged according to hierarchy below:
Information is a source of learning in every sphere of life and it is greatly required to achieve growth. It is a burden when it’s not organised, processed and available to the right people in a format for decision making. Consultants are there to provide necessary information to their customers. These can be in the area of feasibility studies, market surveys and competitive analysis of an organisation or business. Many organisation contract consulting firms to furnish them with all necessary information needed. Most information CEO requests may not be the only thing needed at that point in time. There is no consultant that can supply useful information unless he understands why the information is needed and how it will be applied in the organisation or business.
Moreover, impertinent question from both sides should not be cause for offense they can be highly productive.
Consultants have a responsibility to explore the underlying need of their customers. they are to respond to their request and address other needs as the case may be.
Problem Identification & Solving
Consultants face many challenges in working for their clients because there key role is to find and solve problems.A customer may wish to know whether to diversify, merge, or change line of business. Or business owner and management may what to know how to restructure the organisation for effective and efficient operation, financial policies to adopt etc.
It is the legitimate function of the consultant to provide solutions to these range of problems. Often customers need assistance in defining the real issue at the moment. The consultants first job is to diagnose the problem in order to come up with useful recommendations. To do so, he or she might ask questions like:
What is the challenge and how deep is the effect?
When did the problem start?
Which segment of the business or organisation is affected?
Consultants should not easily rely on or accept the customer description of the problem. Most of them do not have an in-depth knowledge of the situation. So, any consultant who rely only on information provided by the customer, may end up spending more time on the peripherals without digging deep into the cause of the problems.
Competent diagnosis requires more than an examining the external environment and attitude of non-managerial staff of the organisation. It is important to engage the management in diagnosis process to help fast track the project and for them to acknowledge their role in the identifying the problem and implementing solutions.
Effective Diagnosis in Consulting
This is a critical step many consultants take for granted due to bias or nature of the relationship between the consultant and the manager. The consultant might not also have the skills to ask the right questions to dig deep into the root of the organisation issues. Consultant must also investigate certain management choices that turned out as mistakes. Effective diagnosis entails more than analysis of the external environment, the technology and economics of the business. It digs deep into the behaviour of non-managerial members of the organisation.
It is advisable to involve clients or members of the organization in the diagnostic process, this way there is high probability they acknowledge their role in the problem, many top organizations adopt this consultant-client mechanism. This process aids the acceptance and implementation of the strategic and organization recommendations the consultant comes up with.
A consultant job is never complete until he presents a consistent, logical action plan designed to improve the diagnosed problem. Irrespective of the consultant pedigree and exposure, he or she should make the recommendations concise, achievable and practicable. The client decides on implementation; wether his organisation would be in charge, or the consultant would be in charge.
Implementing Changes in consulting
There are two schools of thought on the implementation. Many people believe that managers in organisation should be in charge of implementation as the duty exceeds consulting legitimate bounds. Others believe that those who view implementation solely as the client’s responsibility lack a basis, since recommendations that are not implemented (or are implemented badly) are a waste of money and time. A consultant will frequently request a second commitment to help introduce a recommended new system. If the procedure to this point has not been shared, the customer may dismiss a demand to help with implementation basically on the grounds that seeks more job. Compelling work on implementation issues requires a dimension of trust and collaboration that is produced continuously all through the commitment.
Building Consensus and Commitment
Effective consulting implies persuading a customer to make some move. What underpins that is building up enough assertion inside the organisation that the activity is pertinent, inspiring the client to move, as well as getting enough help with the goal that the development will be effective. To do that, a consultant needs critical thinking systems and the capacity to induce the customer through the rationale of his analysis. Likewise, enough key players must be ready, each with a stake in the arrangement, so it will succeed. So, the consultant needs to build up a procedure through which he can distinguish whom it is critical to include and how to intrigue them.
Each consultant needs to make relevant inquiries to check and build up a customer’s preparation and responsibility to change by thinking about the accompanying inquiries:
- What information does the client readily accept or resist?
- What unexpressed motives might there he for seeking our assistance?
- Are these executives willing to learn new management methods and practices?
- What kinds of data does this client resist supplying? Why?
- Does the top management listen? If the project increases upward communication, how will top levels of management respond?
- How willing are members of the organisation to work with us in solving these problems and diagnosing this situation?
- How can we shape the process and influence the relationship to increase the client’s readiness for needed corrective action?
- To what extent will this client regard organisational effectiveness and adaptability as a legitimate and desirable objective
The relationship with the key customer is particularly essential in creating agreement and responsibility. From the starting point, a successful relationship turns into a joint search for satisfactory responses to the customer’s genuine concerns.
Facilitating Client’s Learning in Consulting
Management consultants like to leave behind something of enduring quality. This is not just improving customers’ capacity to tackle issues but helping them learn strategies to adapt to future difficulties. This energises referral by fulfilled customers and furthermore encourages retainers. Experts encourage learning by including individuals from the organisation in the task’s procedures. For instance, showing a fitting method or prescribing an important book regularly achieves more than playing out a required analysis. Learning amid activities is a two-way road and consultants ought to figure out how to be more intentional with it.
Organisational effectiveness is tool used to explain the capacity of an organisation to adjust future procedures and get commitment to execute change. Sometimes, effective execution requires new management as well as developing the management’s capacities and rights or changes in how the organisation is motivated to action. Consultants who incorporate this step in their process add to client’s most vital assignment of securing the organisation’s future in an evolving world.suggest
While listening to a customer’s worries around one office, the expert ought to relate them to what’s going on somewhere else. It is important to note that while chipping away at current issues, the person ought to likewise consider future needs. In these ways, the expert adds to the general viability by solving pressing issues with a broader mindset. Also, clients must accept that consultants who bring up extensive issues are not attempting to share more work for themselves. To look at how the client’s immediate concern fits into the whole picture is, after all, the professional’s responsibility.
Experts can have more impact through the strategies they exhibit in directing the consulting procedure itself. For instance, if consultants trust that parts of an organisation needs to communicate better, they can suggest team bonding retreat. When a client finds that a consultant’s mystery weapon in taking care of some issue was not complex examination but rather skilfully approaching the pressing issues in a broad settings, the client will be more receptive to recommendations. Good consultants encourage clients to improve effectiveness by modelling methods of motivation that work well.
Consultants are not crusaders keen on transforming the executive’s styles and suppositions. A consultant conclusion ought to incorporate appraisal of management, and recommendation should outline a clear line of action.
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