You just reviewed the final management consulting presentation. You and your team buy into their recommendations and the evidence used to justify the approach. Owners are assigned for each deliverable and you should start seeing results in less than 3 months just as the consultants showed on a chart.
All is good, on to the next critical project. Not so fast. To get the most out of your management consulting project you need to address four issues;
- Change the way you do business,
- Track performance,
- Emphasize quick wins,
- Iterate the solutions or strategies provided.
Click here to download the Change Management Grid Tool, which details the four items needed to make a strong impact after a consulting project.
To change how business is done you will have to leverage your leadership skills. Simply writing some electronic communications about the work and/or new tools will not suffice. A presentation deck is good, but on its own will not change how things get done. To make sure the work is adopted you will need to hold people accountable and communicate the new strategy every chance you get. Reinforce use of the tools or ensure the new routes to market are staffed by A players who will charge ahead and get things done. If you hear grumbling about the quality of the consulting work, that it’s not a fit or other complaints, listen and adapt but keep moving forward. If you choose not to lead the change effort, you will pay a heavy price for another initiative that will fade into oblivion.
To track performance of the new approach:
- Embed new KPI’s or emphasize existing ones into your regular, recurring reporting cadence. If you do not, you will be flying blind. Make sure your operations team and direct reports get the message, this one is not to be slow played and killed.
- During the project, consultants will recommend critical KPI’s or critical success factors. Make sure these and/or others are used as part of your weekly discussions.
- Ask questions, double click on the metrics and make sure everyone understands the behavioral, leading, and lagging indicators.
- More importantly understand that the KPI’s mean and drive for understanding in anomalies; the good and the bad. These metrics are your crystal ball. Once you have reviewed these for 3-6 months you are ready to take the lessons learned into the third phase to ensure success of a consulting engagement. Read this example of tracking performance for a compensation project.
Finding and communicating quick wins will help build momentum and provide encouragement. Make sure the quick wins are impactful and clearly a result of the changes. To be honest, if you cannot find legitimate quick wins within the first couple months, this can be a sign of a serious flaw in the adoption of the work and/or the work itself.
Updating the solutions doesn’t mean you can just refresh what was done by the consultants. If you simply refresh their work with new information you will not be reacting to the latest market, competitive intelligence or even your own strategies. This implies you need someone to keep you informed of market and competitive trends, and know which solutions, processes, and strategies need to be adapted. Without this step your solutions will be out of date within a year and useless within two years. Listen to this debate on market segmentation and how often the work should be updated.
Even though a consulting engagement can be a short few weeks or months, its impact can last years and have a dramatic impact. But only if you address all four phases to get your moneys worth from the engagement, transform your company and possibly your own career. If you are contemplating a transformational change for your organization, watch this episode.