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Make Sure Your Strategy Consultant Earns Her Salt

22 March, 2019

Taking in a consultant to help you create your organisation’s strategy is a common, well, strategy. However, there’s a real danger you’re not getting the best value from them.

A good consultant will make sure your strategy is robust and aligned with your mission and vision. They will test your ideas against the markets and your competitors and in general, add a great deal of value to your business. However, if you don’t cover the basics yourself, you’ll only be paying them to state the obvious. They will parachute in, agitate and leave.

Most businesses are in such a parlous state; they make it easy for consultants to look good.

"Could I take a look at your CRM?" – "Our what?"

"Can you show me your KPI charts?" – "KP what?"

"What project management tool are you using to manage your strategic initiatives?" – "Eh…."

"Where did you find the data to support your assumptions?" – "Support them?"

OK, I’m being facetious, most businesses are not like the examples above, but they are relying on consultants to help them cover the basics. They are making it all too easy for them to under deliver and cause more chaos than they solve.

To get the most from a consultant, to make them earn their salt, you should cover off the basics. You should know where your business is heading, and importantly, you should be able to justify that decision by demonstrating that you’ve looked at the markets and considered your market’s disruptors.

You should also have easy access to your KPI’s, and that doesn’t mean having a copy of an impenetrable spreadsheet rammed with numbers and multiple worksheets, it means having simple time series charts, tables and graphs.

Avoid strategic myopia suffered by many businessesAvoid strategic myopia suffered by many businesses

Vitally, it would be best if you had a viable mechanism for managing the strategic initiatives that will, all things being equal, drive your business forward. Having this in place will also serve you well if, as you work through your strategy execution, things turn out to be less than equal. Having the right tools in place will help you to pivot at the right time.

Traditionally, consultants give you a plan and leave you to it. As they walk out of the door, leaving their invoice on your desk, it’s possible the program they’ve created is already under attack from changes in your markets or the world at large.

Using this model makes no sense, and you can get way more value from your consultant by getting them to help you deliver your continuous agile approach to strategy.

We’re not suggesting the strategy consulting model is dead, far from it. Hiring someone with an external point of view helps to avoid strategic myopia suffered by many businesses. What we are saying is don’t use consultants to solve the fundamental problems, they are way too expensive for this.

Instead, introduce your consultant to your well thought out and justified strategy. One that’s supported by both internal and external KPI’s and is being delivered using an agile, continuous methodology. If you do this, they will almost certainly add real value to the process and not merely dump you with a big bill and a word document.

If you’d like to see the software we’ve developed to help businesses with their strategy execution give us a call or fill in the form at the bottom of this page to request a demo. Our growing list of happy clients are nailing their strategy, how about nailing yours.

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