Despite the jokes and the, oft-deserved, poor reputation of the management consulting industry, the act of consulting to organisations is an important one. Consulting, coaching and advising permit heads of businesses and departments to receive an honest second opinion.
These three activities are the fine art of intelligent ignorance combined with professional disinterest. As Peter Drucker was wont to say, “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions… but the answers have to be yours.”
Successful business consulting depends on two things: the consultant’s ability to ask questions and the client’s ability to use consultants effectively. It is first a peer-to-peer relationship.
Hello, I’m Stephen Hay, the owner of People and Process and the author of this site.
Why Corporate Services?
I want to improve the lot of as many people as possible and Corporate Services has such a strong influence on everyone’s work that it provides tremendous leverage. Here are four reasons why Corporate Services deserves more attention than it usually receives:
- Corporate Services holds a unique position in the organisation. Its policies, procedures and systems have the most direct influence on the behaviour of the organisation’s employees yet it is first in line for cost-cutting and outsourcing.
- It is the only group that is consistently considered a cost-centre yet all strategic intent is manifest through the policies, rules and systems put in place by its four core departments: Finance, HR, ICT and Facilities.
- These four departments hold incredible leverage in terms of affecting the well-being (employee satisfaction) of their fellow employees yet their work is invisible if successful.
- Finally, the relationships these four departments have with their fellow employees have a direct impact on the relationships those employees have with their customers.
Stephen Hay is an accomplished global consultant, advisor and facilitator who helps decision-makers
- reframe how they create stakeholder value
- increase productivity and performance
- reduce the cost of change
- implement strategy
If business consulting is not about providing solutions, what is it?
It’s as much about staying out-of-the-way as anything else; a consultant is neither a manager nor a staff member. Commitment to the client’s cause is absolutely necessary but so is professional indifference. A useful way to frame the relationship is, peer-level detachment.
Business consulting is a lot like being a doctor. A good management consultant or coach will listen, suggest, prescribe. As for a doctor, prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.
I work best with leaders and decision-makers driven by, and willing to invest in, consistently and continually exceeding stakeholder expectations.
Typical client results include:
- increased alignment between strategy and operations
- increased productivity
- better performance
- reduced cost of change
- delighted stakeholders
So, what is business consulting and how can this site help?
When you boil it down, business consulting is the practice of professional disinterest. No consultant will never know your business or industry as well as you and any consultant who claims otherwise is lying, or a specialist contractor with subject-matter expertise.
A good consultant will ask questions that prompt you to reframe the situation in which you find yourself, prompt a different way of looking at the issues you are currently facing and offer well-considered advice. And that is always more valuable than any unsolicited advice you might receive, however well-meaning…
Visit the other parts of this site…
- Part I: Who? – Consultants, Coaches and Advisors
- Part II: You! – Corporate / Shared Services
- Part III: What? – Quality, Change and Improvement
- Part IV: When? – Planning, Models and Analysis
- Part V: Where? – Process, Productivity and Outsourcing
- Part VI: Why? – Strategy, Growth and Development
- Part VII: How? – Projects, Capability and Implementation
“I help Corporate Services Managers
Create Resilient Service Organisations”