Here is my statement: Small and mid-sized companies shouldn’t often buy a project tangled around a strategy from a consultant firm. What you should do, is to buy the strategy process as a service.
Here is a definition of a successful project: it has a beginning and an end. From the company’s point of view that end often comes too soon. After the project has ended the customer waves goodbye to the consultant with a three-word slogan, clarified strategy, and Excel-based action plan in his/her pocket. The customer also holds a belief that they now have the capability and enthusiasm to put that plan into action. Half a year later they still have clarified strategy, an un-updated action plan forgotten in the mists of hard drive, and monthly executive board meetings filled with endless discussions of dumpster fires to extinguish. One year later all that’s left is an unexecuted and outdated strategy. No better time to start a new project!
But what if it went like this: The aforementioned consultant would help you create and build the strategy – just like before. But here’s the twist: it wouldn’t end there. Your trusted consultant has surreptitiously entered your new strategy and action plan into the tool, that helps to implement all the strategic objectives and actions throughout all the organization levels. The consultant would then educate your executive board to utilize the tool in their daily management activities, and employees to keeping their share of data up-to-date. Voilá! Now you hold real-time information about the strategy execution progress in your hand.
Is that it? No sir! Your trustworthy consultant returns to the crime scene regularly. Every quartal he facilitates strategy-meeting with your key personnel. There they analyze together the changes in your environment, their effect on your strategic plans, and apply the necessary remedial actions. Your plans are updated in an agile way based on the conversations and your consultant takes care, that all the changes are delegated and documented on the tool. Your consultant also attends selected executive meetings and contributes to discussions about the strategy.
At this point, a strategy consultant who is reading this must rub his hairy hands together, because this must mean a LOT of additional hours to charge (with a good price that is). I’m sorry, better to stop that right away because I have bad news for you. When you sell strategy process as a service, it means a very different approach to the earnings model. For example, no more miners buy maintenance to their equipment by hourly rate. The miner buys better usability from the maintenance firm and pays only for that. Why should the client of the strategy consultant pay an hourly rate regardless of the results?
If you are interested in hearing more about these thoughts, please feel free to contact the LATO team anytime!