We’re all too aware of the negative connotations often associated with management consultancies.
In many cases consultants are brought in when a company is in a desperate situation. Admittedly they don’t always provide the necessary lifeline, perhaps due to a failure to ensure that the solutions they put in place will result in sustainable improvements.
However there are lots of positive reasons why business leaders decide to engage management consultants. Here are five of the most common, from our experience:
1) Interim management
Companies often bring in a consultant to plug a gap, perhaps created by an expansion or contraction, filling a senior role on a temporary basis.
This allows them to quickly fill a critical position with a highly competent individual who will help to set the team on the right track and ensure continuity of processes and services.
This is probably not the most efficient use of consultants, due to their comparatively high rates, and interim management is one of the least impactful roles we can play. However, in the short to medium term, it can be a worthwhile measure to take.
2) Getting someone else to make the tough decisions
Many senior managers find it hard to make tough decisions, particularly when it comes to laying off staff and cutting salaries or benefits, but also major operational and strategic shifts.
Hiring consultants to assess the situation and lead the decision making process can provide some protective distance, or political cover, as well as reassurance that the decisions will be made on the basis of solid analysis.
These are often challenging assignments for a consultant, but this can be an extremely valuable service.
3) Embedding best practice
Clients often rely on consultants to deliver strategy based on best practice.
Consultants generally have experience of serving multiple clients in the same sector and also working with companies facing similar problems across different sectors. This gives us a unique perspective, which enables us to spot opportunities and come up with relevant solutions quickly.
This knowledge is partially institutionalised at each consulting firm, in the form of white papers, databases, post-project reviews, etc. However, much of the information and insight exists in the collective heads of partners and senior consultants and nowhere else.
4) Analytical horsepower
Companies sometimes call in a consultancy in order to supplement their resources, for example to help them solve specific issues or execute strategies where they lack sufficient skill or knowledge in-house.
Given our training and capabilities, this is an area where we can make an extremely valuable contribution.
5) Fresh perspective
When trying to tackle a challenge or make general improvements, companies often need a fresh set of eyes. You’d be amazed at the value consultants can make with sometimes quite simple insights made possible by our perspective as outside experts.
Critics contend that this is an example of consultants selling glorified common sense. However we can probably all relate to how difficult it is for frontline employees involved in their daily routines to take a step back and look at things with a critical eye with a view to measurement, analysis and improvement.
Large consultancies may have a greater breadth of resources that they can bring to bear on problems (eg, data mining and primary market research), but this is not guaranteed. Boutique ones on the other hand, may have unique, specialised expertise. Somewhere in between big and a boutique, at Renoir we have the collective experience, in-house knowledge and resources and specialist expertise to deliver deep insight and help you make meaningful changes.
We excel at delivering substantial benefits for clients, particularly in areas 3, 4 and 5 above.
Whatever a client’s reason for bringing us in, even the best recommendations are worthless if they can’t sustain what we help them put in place. So we see one of our primary roles as providing training and coaching to equip their employees with the necessary knowledge, skills and mindsets to ensure that each engagement results in an ongoing positive impact.
Do get in touch if any of this resonates with you!