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Consulting: the engagement lifecycle & core consultancy skills


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Summary of Workshop delivered to Fashion Executive MBA students at the London College of Fashion on Thursday 10th July 2014

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Consulting: the engagement lifecycle & core consultancy skills

  1. 1. CONSULTING ENGAGEMENT LIFECYCLE & CORE CONSULTANCY SKILLS London College of Fashion Executive MBA presentation 10th July 2014
  3. 3. START MIDDLE END Analysis & Critical Thinking Brief Proposal • Understanding of the problem • Proposed methodology • Timescales • Agreed outputs • Rates • Terms & Conditions Kick off meeting Consultations Update Meetings / Key Milestones Draft Deliverables Final Deliverable Close-down
  4. 4. TOP TIPS Make sure you understand the problem the client wants to solve – play it back to them Ensure the scope of work is clear – manage ‘scope creep’ Don’t get too hung up on the methodology – it can change, in agreement with the client Be clear about timescales – but they can change in agreement with the client
  6. 6. Depth of personal relationship Breadth of business issues The Trusted Advisor (Maister, Green & Galford 1990)
  7. 7. Ask yourself: “What is going on here?”
  8. 8. What the client thinks is the issue might not be the issue
  9. 9. Don’t assume you have the answer from the beginning...
  10. 10. Hypothesise based upon your experience
  11. 11. Keep a very open mind from the start – you are dealing with limited information to begin with
  12. 12. Technical mastery is important
  13. 13. But ultimately you must build a trust-based relationship “You don’t get the chance to employ advisory skills until you get someone to trust you enough to share their problems with you”
  14. 14. The Trusted Advisor (Maister, Green & Galford 1990)
  15. 15. Care about their problem MANAGE EXPECTATIONS If you say you are going to do something... do it! Remember the client knows more about their business than you Know when you are outside your area of You can be creative with the truth but NEVER lie Don’t be afraid to manage the elephant in the room expertise Practice the art of thinking 3 questions ahead
  16. 16. Never ‘tell’ someone what to do Express potential solutions as options Provide clear rationale for each option Remember it is the client’s decision not yours That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise professional opinion Not enough to be right – you must be helpful! Be mindful of internal politics in determining options You are there to make the client’s life easier not harder Ensure the client remains the centre of attention The client should feel like they have come up with the solution
  17. 17. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that order Listen and understand... I mean really listen Show an interest and establish (genuine) rapport Earn the right to offer advice Set clear goals and outcomes Manage the engagement effectively Let the small stuff go... Research them and their background