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Help! The Consultants have left the building!

by Jon White April 17, 2014

​A visit from a consultant can often leave a company with a long to-do list, and staff short on time.  As a result, at FreshMinds we have noticed that this critical stage of a company's growth is also one of the most crucial in a company's recruitment lifespan. With this in mind, I thought that I would embark on an investigation of this implementation issue...

What's the problem?

What we see, time and time again, is a lack of ability to capitalise on all of the good work that consultancies initiate within a business. It’s often the case that consultants deliver a beautifully crafted presentation depicting how changes could/should be carried out, and then leave a project with the satisfaction of a job well done - then the problem of implementation begins! In fact, in a study carried out by McKinsey, the stats show that 70% of large scale initiatives fall short of their goals.

What's the hold-up?

What often happens is that the senior executives of a company are usually incredibly bought in, after all, they footed the bill in the first place! However, as soon as the buy-in from middle management and below is needed, the execution of the consultant's changes can really begin to slow down. As more and more people become involved it’s entirely natural for things to hit a speed bump; everyone is trying to carry out their day-to-day tasks whilst simultaneously being told to hit new KPI's and focus in new directions. This means that it can often seem like either a massive ask, or an unnecessary one, especially if only the C-Suite has been privy to the holistic long-term benefits of the consultant's plans.

What's the solution?

There are 4 distinct ways to achieve a higher implementation success rate:

  1. Creating buy-in across seniority levels by disseminating a compelling, succinct version of what the consultant reports

  2.   Leading from the front the more bought in the CEO and higher echelons of a business are, the easier their example is to follow

  3. Implementing a structure to measure and track the progression of strategic initiatives

  4. Upskilling and helping current employees learn the skills necessary to support the new changes

However there is perhaps a 5th element of success - getting the right talent into the right positions. At Freshminds we often see a lack of strategically minded people, or under-staffed corporate development teams, struggling to deal with a sudden and astronomical rise in workload. Too often we have seen three or four people swamped with every aspect of change from legal and compliance to finance, operations, marketing etc...

As such, a lack of experience working with consultancies, and this inability to implement, can be exponentially detrimental to a company. Through no one's fault this can mean the work and money spent on getting consultants in can come to nothing. However, the addition of one or two strategically-minded candidates, with a strong consulting skill set, can be just the incisive uplift in capability that a strategic change initiative needs to make it stick and ensure that goals are met.

If you're stuck with this implementation issue and would like to have a chat about Freshminds' candidates, drop us an email or give us a call.

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