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Lean Banking Can Transform Your Institution. Don’t ignore it.

Let’s start with the great news – financial institutions that are leveraging Lean banking operations achieve up to 30% cost reduction within 2 years, and are maintaining cost-efficient operations better than the average in the industry.
Lean processes are being adopted globally by organizations prone to inefficiency that are negatively affecting their earnings.

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Podcast | How to make my internal clients to trust me for Consulting Sourcing?

In many companies, the business lines continue to avoid working with procurement executives when sourcing consultants. Why is procurement sidelined when dealing with consulting services? It is an easy answer: TRUST.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to make my internal clients to trust me for consulting sourcing?
Key Takeaway: Consulting is a human-to-human service. The trust factor is core to both the selling and the buying side. In order to squeeze yourself in the relationship between your internal clients and your consultants, you need to show what value you bring. Do your homework and master the consulting category. Listen to both clients and consultants to understand what they do and need. And finally take it slow and convince your clients with your results.
 

Podcast | Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Over the past 20 years, the growth of in-house consulting groups has been one of the most notable elements of change in the fast-moving Consulting Industry.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains Why should you develop an internal consulting group?
Key Takeaway: Costs are often cited as the first reason for creating an internal consulting team according to CEOs. But there are many more advantages to build an internal consulting group now that the gap in quality and experience has shrunk. Indeed, many companies have taken the leap, even though these groups are not always called internal consulting.
 

5 pointers to crack the make or buy dilemma for consulting services

5 pointers to crack the make or buy dilemma for consulting services.

We wouldn’t be doing our job right if we didn’t strongly recommend assessing each project to determine whether it is better to use Internal or External resources.

5 pointers to crack the make or buy dilemma for consulting services.
The pressure on operating budgets is tremendous, and client organizations must define what project to launch and how.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

This decision must be made on the expected value and the specifics of each project.
 

READ ALSO
Your Request for Proposal (RFPs) to potential suppliers or partners is one of the first big steps in the successful execution of every Consulting project.

1- What are the different options to launch your project?
Your first option is, of course, to launch your project with Internal resources. It should help you keep the costs at a minimum and optimize your internal skills and resources.
But this option can very quickly reach its limits if the project team is not given the appropriate time and responsibilities to lead the project efficiently. Moreover, because the leaders of internal projects are often high-potentials on the leadership fast track, they find it challenging to push boundaries and confront the more established leaders and influencers who hold the key to their careers.
Another option is to assign an independent task force that can bring focus, speed, and pressure to the table, which is sometimes enough for the success of a project
2- How to solve the Make-or-buy dilemma?
Most procurement organizations keep the external spend and the associated preferred providers under control to better support the overall strategy.

What are the key activities that can be outsourced?

What does the pool of potential suppliers look like?

How mature is the market for suppliers?

What providers are appropriate for us?

Is it worth it to outsource a particular activity for the long term?

The same questions apply to Consulting Sourcing. Unfortunately, most client organizations have neither the experience nor the methods to answer them. Yet, today, all leaders throughout an organization, from the head of procurement to senior executives responsible for signing off on major consulting projects, are expected to align their activities with the overall strategy.

3- How to make faster and smarter decisions when buying Consulting services?
When it comes to making decisions about consultants, executives often fall back on word of mouth, on perceptions of the reputations of various providers, and on the consultants themselves’ fancy claims. Also, they take the line of least resistance and simply hire the consultants they have used in the past, regardless of whether those consultants are the most appropriate for a particular project or for furthering the company’s broader strategy.
These leaders have no reliable way to determine whether a particular consultant precisely meets the company’s needs, no way to gauge a consultant’s likely level of performance, and no benchmarks against which to compare providers. And until they avail themselves of an independent, credible means of assessing providers and matching them to their company’s needs, they are likely to lag their competitors who have.
4- Why work with External consultants?
Because they are very familiar with the problem, External Consultants can usually solve it more efficiently and at less cost than Internal resources. They can also make up for the lack of internal resources and flexibility that prevents internal personnel from being diverted from their regular jobs.
How can your company utilize the expertise of Consultants?
Clients may also want to use consultants for broader purposes than the project itself. These could include training executives on new skills, introducing external change agents, learning best practices in the industry or a capability, exposing the organization to a fresh perspective, or relying on the stamp of a recognized consulting brand to reassure board members or investors.
But even under those conditions, hiring external consultants is not always the best solution. For example, consulting services that meet your needs may not be available in your industry or country.
On the other hand, leading an internal project can be tricky. The internal team may be unaware of the latest trends in the industry or capability. They may waste time reinventing already well-established improvement methodologies, resulting in longer projects and higher overall costs. Again, the fact that the team members are part of the company can make it difficult to disrupt the established order.
5- How to get the best of both worlds?
And maybe to achieve the best performance, we need to look at the middle. There is a middle path that can bring you the best of the two worlds: a hybrid execution. There might be parts of the projects isolated as stand-alone workstreams, where confidentiality or service availability will not be a challenge. You can then, under the direction of a highly-experienced project leader, outsource parts of your projects and keep the rest in-house.
Implementing a make-or-buy strategy for consulting services is a sure way to keep your costs under control. If you take advantage of this opportunity to add some demand management to the equation, you can ensure, at the same time, the alignment between your spend and your strategy. But it will require some degree of centralization of your consulting expenses. The first step will then be to analyze your costs and your buying and decision-making processes to understand your starting point.

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

View Profile

Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Podcast | How to make my internal clients to trust me for Consulting Sourcing?

How to make my internal clients to trust me for consulting sourcing?

Understanding the consulting market will help you source the right consultants

We often describe the consulting market with the capabilities and the industries served. And most consulting firms will start there to introduce themselves. But this is just scratching the surface.

Podcast | Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: What will be the new face of the Engineering and Construction Industry?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 20th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of the Engineering and Construction Industry
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the post-covid leisure and travel industry look like?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 12th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of leisure and travel industry.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What’s next for strategy?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 06th ,2021 , All you need to know about the Future of strategy.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

Podcast | How to take control of the consulting tail spend?

With the constant pressure on cost reductions and sustainable savings, many Companies are starting to notice their Tail Spend, even in the Consulting Category.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to take control of the consulting tail spend.
Key Takeaway: More and more client organizations realize the importance of managing the tail spend for consulting.There are a few levers that they can use to get started: gather information about their expenses and the performance of their providers, regroup projects to capture synergies and savings, explore the consulting market, clarify the rules for tail management and use a vendor management system to track small projects.
 

How Thinking Outside the Box Can Make Your Consulting RFPs Unbeatable?

How Thinking Outside the Box Can Make Your Consulting RFPs Unbeatable?

Your Request for Proposal (RFP) to potential suppliers or partners is one of the first big steps in the successful execution of every Consulting project. The core task here involves RFPs tailored to your advantage. But with such a standard procedure, there is a need and plenty of room to think outside the box

How Thinking Outside the Box Can Make Your Consulting RFPs Unbeatable?
Being original often pays off in some awesome dividends!
So how to do that with RFPs?
We have identified one core feature that can change the way you construct your RFPs. And it will improve results substantially.

READ ALSO
The legendary Basketball coach, who holds the record of winning the most NBA championships, 11 total, knows a thing or two about building great teams. So how do you pick the best players for your team to handle your next Consulting project?

How to Think Outside the Box When It Comes to RFPs-
1- Avoid Risking Strategic Goals –
Industries and technologies rapidly move forward and change in response to the pressures of innovation and globalization. Keeping the forward momentum going might pose a risk in missing to align your procurement practices with your company’s strategic goals and objectives. That oversight would be costly.
2- Keep Pace with the C-suite –
Momentum is important; its synergy and dynamics can steadily produce results as you move forward. But it’s important to capture this energy and align it with long term goals to ensure it’s “bullet-proof.”
The new procurement process — RFPs included — has to have a seat at the C-suite table and be redesigned to reflect best practices and keep pace with the organization’s transformation.

3- Appreciate the Value Partners Bring-
You want your RFPs to attract proposals from top-notch providers of the best consulting services available. And those providers likewise seek out partnerships with companies like yours who understand the value they bring to the table.
4- Step up Your Game-
Writing great RFPs that reflect best procurement practices will get you the answers you need and save you time. Not only this, but it will allow you to make comparisons easily and to be confident in the outcome.
5- Develop a Solution-centric Approach –
Probably the clearest sign of thinking outside the traditional RFP box is when you remind yourself you’re not making a purchase, you’re solving a company problem.
6- Be Open-minded and Find Prospective Gains –
Move away from traditional RFPs by rethinking how to gain suppliers and partners who will work better with you and your team. The section where you describe your company should reveal both your structure and your culture, as they are both very relevant.
Your RFP should offer enough information to lead the potential partners to the right framework for your solution but also provide enough of a wide berth to enable them to fashion a creative and possibly innovative solution that may exceed your expectations.
Touch on segments such as the function & objectives of the company and its units. Describe what drives your innovation: customer experiences and input, technological advances, or other approaches, etc. And include relevant aspects of your strategic plans for the future along with your company history: where you’re headed, and where you are coming from. You’ll need to show the bigger picture and how this project fits in.
7- Get to Know Your Prospects –
“Old school” approach with traditional RFPs seemed like a short-answer school exam — a series of specific questions to potential partners. Responders will fill in the blanks, yes, but that may not leave you with a complete picture of what that potential partner can contribute to your company.
“New school” way of doing that will be the essay style, open-ended questions within the framework of what you need to be done.
Questions along the lines of their history and accomplishments, approach and practices, are the best. It’s also great to ask for references and have someone check those references. Look for a consultant whose ethics and posture are similarly aligned with your company’s and whose references back it up. Finding a supplier whose vision and values intersect with yours could make the difference between average work and work above your expectations.
As a final word, your procurement capability directly affects your company’s success — regardless of how that is defined — including your bottom line. 

Article originally posted on Medium

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

View Profile

Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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Consulting sourcing tips

Podcast | How to make my internal clients to trust me for Consulting Sourcing?

How to make my internal clients to trust me for consulting sourcing?

Understanding the consulting market will help you source the right consultants

We often describe the consulting market with the capabilities and the industries served. And most consulting firms will start there to introduce themselves. But this is just scratching the surface.

Podcast | Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: What will be the new face of the Engineering and Construction Industry?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 20th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of the Engineering and Construction Industry
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the post-covid leisure and travel industry look like?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 12th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of leisure and travel industry.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What’s next for strategy?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 06th ,2021 , All you need to know about the Future of strategy.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

What Winning in Consulting Projects Might Look Like?

What Winning in Consulting Projects Might Look Like?

The legendary Basketball coach, who holds the record of winning the most NBA championships, 11 total, knows a thing or two about building great teams.

What Winning in Consulting Projects Might Look Like? The 7 Best Steps to Build Your Dream Team .
So how do you pick the best players for your team to handle your next Consulting project? Easily with our proven steps and methods discussed below.

“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.” — Phil Jackson
 

Here are the essential things you need to look for.
The 7 Best Steps in Finding the Right Consultant and Building Your Dream Team:

READ ALSO
When entering complex negotiations, BATNA and ZOPA’s concepts can provide a useful framework to structure your approach. Let’s dig a bit deeper and see how these concepts can benefit your project.

1- Identify the most promising proposals –
When you are working on a large cohort of Consulting Providers, you should focus at first on the most promising proposals to save time and energy. You can always go down your list if you are not satisfied with your first batch.
Start ranking your proposals based on your assessment of the proposals. You can use these five dimensions: objectives, deliverables, approach, experience, fit, and budget.
You should also be able to put your finger on the uncertainties in the proposals and articulate them into questions. The list of questions will be the basis for the pitch session with the most promising Consultants: an excellent opportunity to clarify the RFP if necessary, and assess the fit with your teams.
2- Avoid these pitfalls when selecting your Consulting provider –
Keep in mind that the best consultants in delivery are not always the best in sales. And vice versa. Fancy or not so fancy, appearance can be deceiving. Rather than placing too much emphasis on how consultants look on paper, give them a chance to convince you and organize a meeting where they can pitch their proposal.

3- Define your criteria and your budget –
The first step is to build a set of criteria. Start with the dimensions you had defined in the RFP and add the elements that may not be included in the RFP, such as price, cultural fit, intimacy, etc. Once you have agreed on the dimensions, start prioritizing them.
4- What value do you expect from the project?
You should agree on how much value you expect from the project, and therefore, how much you are willing to pay. The price is a major parameter in your choice. You should always make sure that your project has a positive value for money.
In that part of the process, we recommend working with the different stakeholders to get the buy-in and prepare the start of the project with a compromise.
5- Ask for a presentation –
It is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to assess the chemistry between a given Consultant and your teams on paper. When you invite Consulting Firms to pitch their proposals, you get the opportunity to sense the human element in their approach.
During the presentations, you will need to keep several points in mind:

Challenge the core proposal,

Make sure the team on the field has the right expertise,

Understand the pricing,

Assess the chemistry with your teams.

After the presentation, give the Consultants several days to revise their proposals. If you haven’t done it already, now is the right time to check the references of the Consulting Firm and the partners in charge.
6- Make your final decision –
Go back to your list of criteria with the order of priorities. Allocate a weight to each criterion, and start grading each proposal on the different dimensions. Once you are done, you can calculate an overall score.
7- Get the Stakeholders on board –
Last but not least, try to build a consensus score with the main stakeholders. Sourcing a Consulting Provider is just one requisite in the success of your project. Another requisite is to get the buy-in of the stakeholders. When building the consensus around the choice of the Consulting Firm, you are working to ease the way forward for the project and the Consulting team.
We hope that when you follow the above methods meticulously you will easily launch and execute a winning project that will deliver above the scope you set out initially.
Phil Jackson, whom we quoted, builds powerful teams that complete one another’s strengths. They win championships, and they break records. They deliver and overdeliver. Be like Phil. And have the confidence and the drive to make your next project the best one yet.
 

You can also find the article here

Author detailsAuthor Bio

Hélène Laffitte

Co-founder & CEO at Consulting Quest

Hélène is the author of Smart Consulting Sourcing, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your Consuting. You can follow @helenelaffitte on Twitter.

View Profile

Mail Me

Call Me

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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  Thank you for Signing Up

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Consulting sourcing tips

Podcast | How to make my internal clients to trust me for Consulting Sourcing?

How to make my internal clients to trust me for consulting sourcing?

Understanding the consulting market will help you source the right consultants

We often describe the consulting market with the capabilities and the industries served. And most consulting firms will start there to introduce themselves. But this is just scratching the surface.

Podcast | Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Why should you develop an internal consulting group?

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Previous Weeks’ issues

This Week In Consulting: What will be the new face of the Engineering and Construction Industry?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 20th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of the Engineering and Construction Industry
read more

This Week In Consulting: What does the post-covid leisure and travel industry look like?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 12th ,2021 , All you need to know about the future of leisure and travel industry.
read more

This Week In Consulting: What’s next for strategy?

This Week in Consulting – Curated News on the Consulting Industry published every Wednesday brought to you by Consulting Quest. This week, January 06th ,2021 , All you need to know about the Future of strategy.
read more

Choose the best next step for you

Buy the Book

Talk to usWe are always open to a discussion. Just book a 30-min virtual coffee with us and let’s get the conversation started
Book a call

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A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Consulting Business

You are an expert in your field, have established a stellar professional reputation, and now you are ready to strike out on your own and start a consulting business. You may be itching to jump in and get started, but like any business, having a solid and well-thought-out plan is essential to your success. This practical guide to setting up your consulting business is your first step to the successful launch of your business. Read on, then get ready to roll up your sleeves!
Start with a self-assessment
The very first step you should take, before you even begin to set up your business, is to do an honest self-assessment. Ask yourself these questions before moving any further. When you are done, you’ll have a clear idea of your motivation.
1. Is this the right professional decision for you?
Starting a consulting business isn’t for everyone, even if you are very skilled at what you do. It’s important to be sure you are making this decision for the right reasons and that it will further (not hinder) your professional achievements. What is motivating you to take this step now? Are you feeling stagnant at work? Have you reached a point in your career where this is the logical next step? By defining your why, you’ll be better able to decide if this is the right decision at this time.
2. Do you have the skill set to proceed?
Clients hire consultants for their knowledge, and the foundation of any successful consulting business is expertise. However, starting and running a business requires a variety of business skills and, most importantly, a lot of determination. Be sure you’re prepared to handle ALL of the responsibilities that come with running a consulting business, not just the consulting.
3. Is there a market for your business?
You can spend all the money you want on a slick marketing campaign, but it will be for nothing if there are no takers in your market. How many other consultants in your market are in the same field as you? If your market is saturated, you’ll need to be prepared to compete with other consultants for business. Take a look at the other consultants in your field, and see what they are doing. What can you bring to the table that is unique? What do you offer that will bring clients to your door?
4. Are your numbers and gut feel in sync?
It may be tempting to hitch onto that gut instinct, and just go with it. Branching off and starting your own business may seem romantic and adventurous, but the real goal is to build a business with longevity. You don’t want to have to close up shop a year from now, when you realize your money can no longer support the business. Run a check-up of your financial health. Do you have enough funds to live on while you start your business? How much money do you have to invest in start-up costs, and how much will you need to borrow? This is also where your research into your market will help. Is your market viable enough to make the initial investment of funds worth it?
Once you’ve made your way through these questions, and you are confident that this is the right decision for your career, it’s time to get down to the real work.

Launching Your Consulting Business
The next several steps will guide you through the essentials to starting your business. Follow these steps carefully, and you will be well on your way to a fulfilling and exciting consulting career.
1. Determine your value proposition.
This is where you define your mission. Why are you doing this, what makes you different, and how will it help your clients? A value proposition is a short summary of your business, what it offers, and the reasons why a client would want to buy from you instead of someone else. Keep it clear and concise, and seize the opportunity to differentiate yourself. Decide if you will present yourself as a generalist or a specialist. Will you propose specific products or formalise them as you go? Make this clear in your value proposition
You’ll want it to say 3 things: what do you do, what makes you unique, and how will your clients benefit.
2. Create a business identity.
This is where you get to brainstorm what your business will look like. What will you call your business? Will you use a slogan or tagline? If you have the skills, create a logo; otherwise, investigate companies that can help you design one. Create a uniform identity that will be recognizable in your market to appear on business cards and other marketing materials.

Launch your Consultancy

Here are the 10 commandments of a great consultant, to maximize your potential…

Read More

3. Set up the administrative foundation.
Next, you’ll need to focus on setting up a proper work environment and administrative framework. Will you be working from home or setting up in an office? Define your space, then move on to details like office furniture, computers, software, and other technology. Set up internet and a phone number, with options to conference call or video call if you plan to conduct business from a distance. You’ll also need to acquire or draft your own legal documents, like contracts for business agreements with clients, and make sure you have satisfied all legal requirements for setting up a business in your area.
4. Create your marketing campaign.
Your business is set up, you’ve acquired your first launch client, but now you need more.
Your marketing campaign is what introduces you to potential clients and convinces them to learn more about what you have to offer. Start close to home and let all of your personal and business contacts know about your business. Send business cards out to everyone you have worked with in the past who may be in need of your services, or could provide a referral. Pick up the phone and start making calls. Get people talking about you and what you do!
Your marketing campaign should also include a professional website, social media profiles, brochures, and other printed materials. Have your logo, slogan, and anything else that is a part of your “look” on all of your marketing materials. You are creating a brand along with a business.
5. Decide on your fee structure.
Know in advance what you are going to ask in compensation for your services. Define your sales pitch and your selling tool kit for proposals. Consider gathering testimonials, slides, case studies, and printed materials that demonstrate your track record and the value of your services. Have your resume updated and ready to go.
Growing Your Consulting Business
Once your business is launched, your marketing campaign is going full blast, and you are beginning to negotiate with, or perhaps have already signed, a few clients, you want to continue to focus on building your client base.
1. Continue to leverage your personal network.
People who know you personally have an interest in seeing you succeed. Continue to remind your personal network about your new business.
2. Expand your network.
Next focus on expanding your professional network, both digitally and in person. Having a social media presence is a valuable tool in building a business. Consider not only professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, but also social ones, like Facebook and Twitter. Join in-person meet-up groups that bring together professionals in your field, and connect with businesses that may be in need of your services. Participate in local networking events to meet other professionals who might need or can refer your services. And don’t forget this one simple rule: ask your network to introduce you to other people who may be interested in your services.
3. Develop partnerships.
Relationships are key in business. Partner with consultants in other fields or professionals in a related industry who are willing to exclusively refer business to you in exchange for your exclusive referrals. As you continue to build your network of personal relationships, you’ll see more referrals over time.
4. Promote your services.
Become a walking and talking advertisement for your consulting business. While you’re getting things off the ground, you’ll need all the promotion you can get. Stay diligent! Build a strong digital and social media presence, market your services to your target audience, and even consider running special promotions to start building a clientele and establishing your business’s reputation.
Final Points to Remember
As you embark on this journey, it’s good to come back to these simple reminders.
1. Devote yourself to this new venture fully.
You won’t find massive success with half effort.
2. Value yourself.
You may be tempted to offer lower rates as a new business, but don’t undervalue your skills. Know what you are worth and stick with it!
3. Know when to walk away.
Don’t give up if you’re having a rough patch. The road to starting a new business is always bumpy. But, if you’ve been at it for a while and your heart is no longer in it, don’t hesitate to walk away if that feels like the right decision. Go back to the beginning of this guide and start at step one to reassess your passion for your business.
4. Have fun!
This is an exciting, new chapter in your life. Enjoy it!
Starting your consulting business will not be easy, but it will almost certainly be exciting and fulfilling. Let this practical guide be your starting point. Then, just keep it simple, stay the course, and enjoy the ride.

Consulting Playbook: Boosting Accounting System to Increase Revenues

Consulting Playbook: Boosting Accounting System to Increase Revenues

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #27
A new company focused on providing advanced manufacturing capabilities to aviation engine production companies needed to improve accounting systems and obtain startup capital. The company opted to use consultant’s help to develop financial accountability systems compliant with financing organizations oversight requirements, and to assist them with large negotiations related to the start-up funding.
Assessing the System in Place
First an assessment of the current accounting system capabilities was carried out. A thorough understanding of the additional reporting systems had to be made, and to figure out what was needed to meet the financing requirements. Subsequently – the options for off-the-shelf solutions were further evaluated. Findings on ROI and capabilities were presented to the CEO for approval. The unsuccessful off-the-shelf solutions that failed to bring in sufficient ROI had to be revised, and a new customized solution was requested by the CEO. An additional Excel reporting system was set up, using output from the accounting system which made it easier for users. The project’s closure consisted of standard work on how to interact with the Excel based project cost analysis system.
The Successfully Adopted New Methods Brought in Results
The Consulting project managed to deliver great benefits to the company where both accounting and reporting financial systems enabled a macro and a micro level financial analysis for each of their projects. The company also received several million dollars in startup funding.

Additional Information

The Importance of Accounting Software & Systems in Boosting Efficiency and ROI
Choosing the best Accounting systems and processes that fit your organization’s needs, and regularly looking for updates, should be a priority for today’s businesses. Here are some important features and issues to consider when evaluating the current Accounting program and methods:

Always be updated on the latest federal regulations demanding greater transparency and disclosure. You cannot afford to bypass these.
With the right accounting software your business will accelerate most of its operations, including better accuracy and reporting.
The power to collect and assimilate high-quality, up-to-date information, and send it to the right people at the right time gives your company a valuable, incalculable advantage in this era of regulatory scrutiny of financial statements.
Upgrading your current system will undoubtedly result in better ROI when done correctly. This is a driving factor for majority of organizations. A new Accounting system typically will pay for itself within few years after implemented.
To ensure higher ROI, you need to consider the following: the software and systems are tailored specifically to your industry; to the size of your company; the more functions you can delegate to it such as billing, human resource, etc., the less data inaccuracies will be, and your overall operations will be closer to a complete data integration.
Centralizing the company’s structure by incorporating more branches and departments into a single system, will save you a huge amount of time and money.

  For Further Reading:

A Return on Investment as a Metric for Evaluating
Improving Your Accounting System
How to Increase Profitability through Efficiency

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.

What to look at when reviewing consulting proposals? Your Top 17 Questions Answered.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst you can do is nothing. ” – Theodore Roosevelt

Consulting projects are all about initiative and being proactive. Starting with your winning RFP process that has attracted a score of proposals, the assessment phase now begins. Keep in mind that the real goal is solving a problem for your company, not simply buying a service.
Let’s talk about the quality of a proposal and touch on some important and relevant points.
1. How the most promising proposals differ from the rest? 
So you have received a sufficient number of proposals. On an extensive project, your short-list might still be significant. So if you want to spend enough time on each proposal, funnel down to potential winners, and set aside the rest. Think of the process as a funnel into which you pour all the proposals.
At the narrow end, you will have the most promising proposals. At the very least, these meet every one of your RFP’s criteria. The proposals are convincing, and you have a clear picture of how the project would unfold. The number of proposals is adequate, considering the strategic importance and the budget of the project.
A bit higher up the funnel are the proposals that are slightly off-track but still workable. Maybe they have a good rationale but have missed an inconsequential step. You want to avoid eliminating a potential gem too early in the process.
At the very top of the funnel are the proposals that are off-topic or too generic. Resist the impulse to dismiss all the other proposals, not yet. And keep in mind the process is not over until you have signed a contract with your preferred consulting provider. Don’t rush into rejecting the second-runner. You’d be surprised to learn how many first-runners are disqualified during the negotiation process.
Don’t overlook a proposal from an upstart consulting provider with a great idea but less than desirable proposal-writing/presenting skills. There might be a way to implement that idea, in part or fully, into your business solution.
Be careful not to burn bridges when you send your response to potential consulting suppliers with rejected proposals, regardless of how you view their current bid. Here’s why: in an environment of rapid change, these consultants may evolve into great partners or future suppliers.

Leverage disruption to create more value through Consulting

Dubai probably is one of the most modern and fascinating cities in the world…
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2. How a team of proposal evaluators improves your chance for success? 
You have now the proposals in hand that, at first glance, meet your eligibility requirements and your other basic criteria. It’s time to get serious and pick your evaluation team.
Who might be a part of your team of reviewers? Procurement professionals naturally, and the person in charge of the consulting budget, if any. You should also include the main stakeholders, such as the project sponsor and representants of the functions directly impacted. Perhaps a senior executive or two, who has experience with consulting. Ideally, the team of reviewers should be the team that worked on the RFP.
Seeking input from a range of stakeholders helps to ensure that the evaluation process is perceived as fair and is more likely to result in selecting the best proposal for your project.
If your team lacks deep experience in the area of procurement processes, consider including a qualified and experienced consultant on the team to help you build a process designed to procure the best solution for your company.

3. How a team of proposal evaluators improves your chance for success? 
It is essential to make sure that all your evaluators agree on a few basic principles:

The winning proposal must answer your project’s objectives.
The chosen approach will reinforce and support the overall purpose of the project.
The consultants must have the right competencies.
The selected consulting suppliers must be a good fit for your corporate culture.

Agree on the type of approach that would be best considering the context of the project and your culture. Maybe you are looking for an innovative, original, breakthrough, or transformational approach that your company can leverage to accelerate your strategy. Alternatively, you may want a proven and reliable approach.
Ask the team to review the proposed solutions along the lines of problem resolution, clarity, internal consistency, and ease of implementation, as well as outside-the-box approaches.
4. What are the necessary and critical requirements for the Consulting firm?
There are some prerequisites to work with your company. And making a preliminary check can disqualify a consulting provider right away and save you some time.

Consulting firm eligibility

Many companies have a strict registration process that includes lengthy verifications. Make sure that your consulting firm is already registered, or your project eligible for an exceptional procedure.

Proposal compliance

It might sound bureaucratic, but it will give you a sense of the commitment of the consultants and their ability to serve your needs. A consultant that remits a proposal late, incomplete, or not compliant to the format has either not understood your needs or doesn’t want to adapt to your ways. In both cases, you have a problem.

Ethics and values alignment

Working with the wrong consulting firm can hurt your reputation internally and externally. Make sure that your supplier’s values are aligned with yours.

Potential conflicts of interest check

Some internal consulting groups are providing consulting to external clients. Working with the main competitors from their parent company would clearly be a conflict of interest.

Employees work authorization

With the globalization of the consulting projects, more and more clients are looking for providers outside their regular market. It is not unusual for a European company to win a project with a U.S. company, and vice versa. When you are working with a company that will fly their consultants to your premises, make sure they are authorized to work in the country and your industry.
5. How the Consultant sees and understands the objectives?
Obviously, you are bringing the consulting provider to help you achieve a certain goal. You want them to understand well your objectives and help you identify and implement a solution.
6. Has the consultant properly researched your company’s context?
A bid with limited details about your needs usually screams a narrow understanding of your business, a rushed or a generic proposal, or all of the above. Be uncompromising on that point.
7. Did the consultant reformulate your needs and put them in context?
You want to make sure that the consultant answers your questions and adds some value, rather than just copy-pasting your RFP.
8. Is the proposal introducing elements that don’t seem related?
Several reasons can explain this phenomenon. The first option, you are facing a “cookie-cutter” syndrome. The Consultant is copy-pasting a previous proposal for your project. The second option, they have seen an objective that you had missed in your RFP. In both cases, you want to challenge the consultant to make sure the deliverables are right for your company. You need to buy what you need and only what you need.
9. Do the deliverables completely satisfy you?
Once you have made sure that the consultants have understood what you were trying to do, you want to check if the deliverables they have included in the proposal will indeed answer your questions.
Clearly listed main deliverables
It is essential to ensure the Consultants have answered all the key points of the scope, and that you can compare the core of the proposals.
Back to your RFP, identify all the expected deliverables, and check one by one if they are included in the proposal. Get a sense of what is outside the scope in the bid. Sometimes the consultants take the initiative to reorganize the deliverables and regroup them. Make sure all your initial deliverables are still there.
Additional deliverables relevant to your needs
In some cases, the consultants add deliverables that were not listed in the RFP. Have a close look at how they relate to your main objectives. It can be an interesting addition or just a way for the consultant to increase the scope (and the price). If the deliverable is relevant, ask yourself if it is a must-have or a nice-to-have.
10. Do you trust their approach?
Does the proposed approach support your objectives?
Evaluate the approach proposed by the Consulting provider. Is it what you had in mind? Does it make sense? Is it adapted to your needs? What are the potential limitations of the approach that the consultant is suggesting? Will this approach support a proper buy-in?
11. Is the timeline proposed aligned with your expectations?
Does the timeline match your internal objectives? If not, is it a major issue? Have the consultants explained why they changed the timeline?
12. Is the phasing consistent with the one in your RFP?
Consultants love to cut a project into multiple phases. When you compare the different proposals, make sure that each phase contains the same work and the same deliverables. It is not uncommon to see a Consulting firm descope or underprice the first phase to win the project and generate more substantial costs in further phases.
For very large projects, we recommend to include phasing and commit only to the first phase in the first RFP. The further phases will be handled through another RFP. It will force the winner of the first project to do a good job, and remit competitive pricing at each phase of the project.
13. Is the governance of the project well defined?
Sometimes the difference in price for two proposals comes from the difference of responsibilities (and thus workload) of the consultants vs. your teams. How will the governance of the project be organized? How is the project managed at the steering level? At the working level? What support from your teams is expected at each stage of the project?
14. Is the project resourced properly?
Considering the workload associated with the project, does the staffing seem sufficient? And on the opposite, does the team seem oversized?
15. Will you have enough bandwidth to contribute?
Successful execution is based on cooperation and a balanced workload. Will you and your team have enough availability to support the project?
16. Is the project team senior enough? Will they be credible with your teams?
What is the level of seniority of the partner in charge? Is he taking the responsibility of the project or delegating that to someone more junior? What is the level of experience of the project team? Will this work with your teams?
17. Are you confident the consultant will work well with your teams?
And last but not least, looking at the interactions you had and the composition of the team, do you expect this consultant to work well with you and your teams? And to be a good fit?

Ready to get started on your next project?
We will be happy to help.
Please give us a call today, at no obligation, and let’s get the conversation started.
Book your call

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5 Things About Performance & Competition We Can Learn from Neymar Jr.

5 Things About Performance & Competition We Can Learn from Neymar Jr.

The Brazilian football star is one of the most recognizable faces in the world, and an inspiration to millions of kids who love and play sports. Besides the exceptional talent that he has, we can look at something more tangible and applicable to almost any other professional field – the desire to compete. And the desire to win.
If you like to get the best performance from your Consultants, create competition among them.
Competition inspires people to go for peak performance, and lack of it creates opportunities for subpar results.
As an executive, you’re probably used to making quick decisions. Given the amount of work that you have to do, we get it. You want to be efficient. But don’t let that efficiency come at a higher cost of mediocre outcomes for your Consulting projects.
5 Things We Can Learn from Neymar & How to Get the Best Performances from Your Consultants –

“Our objective is always to win. Every day, every game, and every competition.” – Neymar Jr.

Get Crystal Clear on Your Priorities

What are the exact reasons you need to hire a consultant, and who can be the best fit for your specific project and your organization? The most natural solution is to look into your pool of existing Consulting Providers and to pick and choose from there. However, the best consultant for one project is not necessarily the best for the next one.

Read also...
The disruption in the Consulting value chain can benefit clients in many ways. Due to the digital transformation affecting modern industries.

Learn more

Look for the Most Talented Experts in The Field –

People are good at different things, and the degree of talent and abilities can vary substantially from one person to another. Make sure to compare the skill sets of candidates.
And It’s necessary to find a consultant who has substantial experience, creative problem-solving skills, and excellent interpersonal skills. It will be a great idea to interview a number of Consultants and evaluate their skills and talent in the process.
However, if you do all this work, you may find that different consultants have different strengths. One might have excellent interpersonal skills, while another might have many more years of experience. One might be endlessly creative and great with design, while another might be a lot more blunt and honest about what your organization really needs. A good way of identifying strengths and weaknesses is also to check references on prior similar assignments.

Put Consultants in Competition –

People naturally do more and do better when the job or the reward is at stake. They know they need to do their best and prove themselves. And who benefits from this type of competition? You, the client. This way, you will also get the best value for money with your Consulting Spend.

Have the Desire to Win –

This idea does not apply just to sports. To get the best performance, and to make sure you hire the right people for your project, there is one more aspect to look at – their passion and willingness to win. But since this is not a match, the outcomes are progress, improvement, and solving a particular issue, so make sure they have the motivation to deliver these results. You can’t win if the desire is not shared among all team members, including your Consultants.
It’s way too easy to skip a step and put a little less motivation, and still pass the test, but that’s not what winners do.

Get the Best Value for Your Money –

There is a price advantage to put Consultants in competition. If the consultants know that you will examine other offers, they will give their best effort to design and price their proposal.
You could always argue that you will take the best for the job regardless of the price, but we all know what pressure on expenses the executives have to live with, especially operating expenses. The better the cost for value tradeoff will be, the easier it will be to convince your boss or your board that this consultant is the right choice.
And to end this on a lighter note, Neymar Jr. might currently be the highest-paid athlete in the world, but we can be sure that the revenues he brings to his club are way higher to justify the cost of his contract.
Get the star Consultants, and watch the benefits multiply as you successfully complete your projects.

Do you get the best performance from your Consultants?
Let’s discuss your projects in more detail
Please give us a call today, at no obligation.
Book your call

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Podcast | Where to focus in the Consulting Sourcing Process?

Today Hélène is welcoming Laurent Thomas, EVP Oil & Gas at Solvay Novecare & former Senior Partner at Oliver Wyman who will tell us where to focus in the consulting sourcing process.
On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains where to focus in the consulting sourcing process
Key Takeaway: If you are launching a project where the choice of the consultants will determine the value generated, you should focus on the selection of the right provider. If the impact is going to be mostly the same, you should focus on the scoping and the negotiations.
 

Consulting Playbook: Building Modern HR Practices and How That Impacts Your Organization

Consulting Playbook: Building Modern HR Practices and How That Impacts Your Organization

The Consulting Playbook, Edition #5
Every business is a people’s business at its core. How you organize and manage your talent is essential to the health and the growth of your organization. Let’s have a look at some issues and top practices defining a modern and effective HR department.
The Demands of Global Growing Talent Needs
The organization referenced is a Global Holding Company operating designing and manufacturing air & space parts and vehicles that boasted a large workforce: > 150,000 FTE, with 25% engineers, and comprised of 5 main operating companies. The organization is among the leaders in servicing the Aviation, Aerospace and Defense industry. They have completed a major research project on the topic of “How to organize for growth in the Aerospace and Defense Industry”, and this research had specifically outlined improvements in the HR functions within a corporate environment.
HRD together with the Executive Committee had identified serious HR issues which had to be resolved on a Group level. The organization needed to recruit 5,000 engineers additionally in very specialized domains (composites, structures, propulsion). Other major areas of improvement included managerial culture, creating a sense of ownership, and establishing carrier bridges across the group of companies.
Corporate Business Academy Designed to Support New Initiatives
The Consultant developed a close working relationship with top HR team members (Group HR function + HRDs of operating companies) with an agenda to define HR priorities and create a blueprint of new strategy implementation. He also performed an analysis of the present organization’s structure at Group level, and in the operating companies to be able to determine commonalities and overlaps (interviews and benchmarks), and assess function and performance. During the design sessions with HR top team alternative design options were discussed and further revised. Corporate Business Academy was organized and prepared for launch. The role of the newly established academy would be to build and support the newly designed managerial culture of the Group HR process redefinition: candidacies, recruitment, evaluation, and training.
The Impact on the Business:

Established a common vision and action plan for Group HR functions
Refined the HR priorities and roadmap to implementation
New Resource allocation processes were outlined including Performance Management/KPIs, Key processes
Setup of a common improvement platform for all non-transactional processes (pay, time, non-specific training)
New HR Business Partner model was implemented across operating companies
Corporate Business Academy set to become a key factor of the Group culture

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

Additional Information

Effective Reorganization Methods for a Modern Global HR Operation
A modern and dynamic HR department has a tremendous impact on the business performance of any organization. As companies grow and their needs in qualified talent rises on a global scale, the demand for a progressive HR operation becomes even more ardent. If this component is so crucial, we had identified the key HR competency as following: familiarity with integrated talent management, understanding of workforce planning, and competency in social networking and new HR technology.
The Top 5 HR Practices that Can Make an Impact on Your Business:
1. Structured Governance and Business Case Development. In order for HR to best serve a business and build a successful business case, a close working relationship with the business leaders is a must. This will serve as foundation to understand the inner workings of the company, and involve the management in the planning process. It will also foster the full alignment…
2. Developing Advanced Workforce Planning Capabilities. Leading HR organizations today incorporate elaborate forecasting and workforce analytics into their processes. This enables them to apply company-wide talent, latest business data and external workforce data into practical insights that they can share with business leaders.
3. Implementing the right HR Philosophy – Leading HR organizations tend to commit to creating work environments enabling employees to thrive both as individuals and as a group. They clearly communicate expectations, the HR philosophy and mission, and actively engage in creating a positive environment. Innovation and collaboration, or creating the best place to work are their top priorities, while the least effective HR philosophies limit their focus on efficiency or cost-cutting efforts.
4. Reducing administrative work for HR Business Partners. A HR organization represents the link between the HR function and business leaders, a high-impact HR organization is able to advise senior business leaders on decision support, workforce planning, leadership development and executive coaching. Delegating the project to the right person, improves HR’s credibility across the enterprise, enhance working relationships with business leaders, cultivate mutual understanding and gain more influence. Poor performance in this area and narrow focus on administrative duties only, can actually reduce an HR function’s ability to work effectively.
5. Flexible HR Organization Design. Leading HR organizations are flexible and agile. Their structure allows adaptive movement when conditions dramatically change.  Centralized, decentralized model or a combination of the two, emerged as a predictor of HR success. Flexibility of the model is an important and valuable feature allowing an organization to adapt changes, and continue to grow and thrive.
For further reading:
– Reviewing the Functions of Global Human Resource Management
– The global and local HR function
– Challenges for human resource management and global business strategy

t

About The Consulting Playbook
The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.

Safari in Consulting #1: CAUSA Consulting

Safari in Consulting #1: CAUSA Consulting

Company Background
CAUSA is a small management consultancy specialized in strategic consultancy, sales enablement and communication. with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Wiesbaden, the company has extensive experience working with clients in commerce and politics on a European scale as well as on an international basis.

The company’s activities focused on innovative growth strategies and their analytical, structure and communication-oriented aspects. Having an international network with consultants in Brussels, Copenhagen and Washington D.C., as well as other partner organizations guarantees qualified support on the spot and an on-going exchange of experience.
The staffs have many years of experience in the public sector, as well as knowledge and competence acquired in private enterprise. The company’s clients include international and export-oriented SMEs, public institutions and listed companies.

Interview with Dr. Schössler, Managing Partner, Co-Founder

With decades of experiences working in both the public and the private sector, I developed the expertise in commercial, industrial and political consultancy. I founded CAUSA to better assist both sides with their growth and development initiatives.

Dr. Martin Schössler
CEO of Managing Partner, Co-Founder

Why did you found CAUSA and what were you driven by?

While working for The Economist Intelligence Unit (Martin was responsible for the Government and Financial Sector in Germany) I noticed that many clients wanted to go “beyond thought leadership” and not solely rely on whitepapers and studies. I was driven by the interest to establish a novel, hybrid business model in between the private and public sector where strategy consulting and outreach measures can be brought to the full effect for our clients. We also followed the request of our first client, SAP, to help them position one of their products for the public sector.

How does the company keep its niche positioning in the market and continuously generate values?

We need to constantly innovate. Over the years we have continuously progressed in our portfolio which includes now also digital assets and brand / platform development (for example https://www.luftfahrtistinnovation.de/ ) and we have also been of course challenged in a positive way by our clients which have quite complex tasks at hand, operate in a global context and need to keep track with the digital transformation. Very often, for instance when we won our first mandate from a top global Chinese IT company, we had to very quickly deliver results while still getting to know the finer cultural aspects which are quite important when you work so closely together. We spend a lot of time looking for the right people for our organization and we have started to focus more on C-level assignments and larger transformative projects where we support our clients for several years, including sparring and coaching elements.

What is the top piece of insight you have for the Safari in consulting readers -many of them are executives of companies and consultancies?

The business impact of government is often overlooked, yet the second most impactful element when it comes to business success. Executives should spend more time with government representatives and vice versa, the cultural divide is surprisingly large and growing due to the ongoing specialization in both sectors. The public sector is also a much more interesting and rewarding client when it comes to services and products that can be offered from the private sector in contrast to the public image. It is also able to provide an excellent context to large-scale implementation of new services and platforms, especially in IT which at this scale is simply not possible in the private sector. So at first i would suggest raising the level of interaction with public sector and government representatives, and second increase the effort to sell to the public sector – the reward will be substantial and also the learning when it comes to societal and foreign policy and security policy issues.

How do you see the future of CAUSA? What hopes/expectations do you have for the company?

We will further expand our portfolio to establish our own platform where we can deliver much improved law impact prognosis for our clients, organized in agenda streams, like automotive etc. This will be a separate business that we will launch in 2018, so we are happy to welcome the first beta testers from early summer. My aim is also to add more skilled partners at the company and expand our business to add mandates in the SME space. We will also expand our sales enablement platform where we have generated substantial new mandates which we will be able to announce in April.

Lastly, what advice do you have for students who are hoping to launch a career in Consulting?

Try to establish your own business before joining a larger firm or work / serve in a versatile field like government or even sports or the military. Also, in your studies, don´t stop at the Bachelor level and do a maximum of two – but meaningful – internships. Try to publish your ideas on how to improve specific items of public interest and engage in political debates early on to get an impression of the full societal spectrum. Also, everything you ever thought about as a kid is now possible as a job ,-)

For more information about the company, visit http://www.causa-c.de.
Are you a niche consulting firm that would like to be featured? Or do you know any interesting consulting firms we should reach out to? Let us know! Contact us at: info@consultingquest.com
For more specialist consulting firms, you can check out our Global Directory –with over 3000+ consulting firms around the world.

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How to Crush Low Performance and Other Project Issues With Our 5 Best Tips

How to Crush Low Performance and Other Project Issues With Our 5 Best Tips

“Collaboration is like carbonation for fresh ideas. Working together bubbles up ideas you would not have come up with solo, which gets you further faster.” – Caroline Ghosn

If you worry about team performance, the risks, and the issues associated with a Consulting project, you are totally right. But instead of contemplating, when you face low performance or other issues working on a Consulting project, it’s best to deal with them using the smartest methods and technics. Also, we should probably emphasize smooth and productive collaboration between all team members, as it is one of the key success factors.
So how to drive the performance of the project and avoid potential issues?
Check out our best, proven tips.

Manage the Consulting Category

Over the past 20 years, the growth of in-house consulting groups has been one of the most notable elements of change in the fast-moving Consulting Industry.
Read More

1. The Key Success Factor is Collaboration
Collaboration internally between the business lines and procurement to chose the best consulting firm to work with. And collaboration between your teams and the consulting team to get the best outcome for the project.
Defining your project team with the best talents might be as important as working with the right consultants. Your project sponsor has to put her weight to support the project and get the buy-in of the other decision-makers. Your project manager must have the energy and credibility to make the project achieve your goals.
If you chose right, they would embark the rest of your collaborators on the journey, and the consulting firm will be in the best position to deliver high-quality work.
The time you allocate to the project is also crucial. It should have been part of the discussion at the proposal stage: what contribution are the consultants expecting of your teams? However, it is always a little difficult to anticipate how the project will unfold. If your team is understaffed, or not available for the consultants, it can very quickly become a bottleneck for the project.
Be clear with the different business lines involved in the project of the priority you give to the project. If your project is highly strategic, maybe you should reallocate some part of your project manager’s duties to someone else. Or maybe you should reevaluate the timeline of your project if your teams have higher priorities.

2. Managing the Performance – What to Focus On?
The role of the Steering Committee is to make decisions indeed, but also to make sure that the project is delivering on time and quality. At every major step, the consulting firm should report to the Steering Committee on the work done, the challenges met, and the next steps.
For short projects, the monitoring becomes more merged with the reception. But for larger projects, you can use the regular meetings to check the delivery and involve the stakeholders in measuring the performance.
A low performance might involve several factors, sometimes simultaneously.
There can be many reasons for a Consulting Team to be unable to deliver the quality or timeline expected. According to our research, the main reason for dissatisfaction with consultants is the mismatch between the expertise of the consultants and the client’s expectations. Clients often reproach their consulting providers with not understanding their business or not customizing enough their delivery to the context of their company.
However, the reasons are rarely one-sided. Maybe the context has changed since the project started, or the project has unveiled some issues that are making the delivery more complicated than expected. We recommend asking the consultants to make their case and justify a change in the contract, if any.
3. Team Composition – When something is wrong with the team –
Consulting is also about people and fit. The consultants might have a hard time interacting with your teams. Alternatively, you might find the consultant too aggressive or too wishy-washy. It can also be that the consulting team is understaffed. Sizing a team for a project is always a tricky exercise, even for experienced consulting partners.
Don’t hesitate to discuss with the Consulting firm and ask for a replacement, even for the partner.
4. Focus on the Results, not the Means – What Truly Matters
Never forget that the Consulting firm has committed to the results and not the means. That is why we recommend adding the deliverables in the contract. Even if the pricing and the proposal were made with a certain team composition, you can definitely ask for changes on the team if the delivery is significantly impacted in time or quality. As a rule of thumb, unless the context of the project or the deliverables are changed, the movements in the consulting team should not impact the price you pay for the project.
5. Navigating Change in Long Projects –
For long projects with a significant change dimension, include change reinforcing elements in your communication. For instance, you can communicate on early successes and progress. It will help to keep the momentum.
Also, most consulting projects are going beyond pure transactional activities and will include a human dimension. Even though you want to keep your distance with your providers so that they don’t become too comfy with your company, you need to maintain a close collaboration with the consulting team. Having this close connection will allow you to address elements that you don’t necessarily want to address in a larger audience, to have an early warning system and to correct course in real-time. It is particularly true for stakeholders management.
 

Ready to get started on your next project?
Need a fresh point of view? We will be happy to help.
Please give us a call today at no obligation. Let’s get the conversation started.
Book your call

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Self-Diagnostic to Improve the Management of Your Consulting Spend

Do you currently employ consultants on a regular basis? Perhaps you consider consultants a negligible part of your budget and overall business strategy—there for small, niche projects when you need them and gone as soon as that business is concluded. However, from our experience, consulting spend can represent millions of dollars for companies, and if not properly managed (or managed at all), you’ll miss out on the strategic opportunities a consultant can provide.

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Top 5 Articles

Self-Diagnostic to Improve the Management of Your Consulting Spend

Do you currently employ consultants on a regular basis? Perhaps you consider consultants a negligible part of your budget and overall business strategy—there for small, niche projects when you need them and gone as soon as that business is concluded. However, from our experience, consulting spend can represent millions of dollars for companies, and if not properly managed (or managed at all), you’ll miss out on the strategic opportunities a consultant can provide.

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