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Consulting Skills So you think you will make a good consultant?

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1 Consulting Skills So you think you will make a good consultant?

2 Contents What is a consultant? What is a consultant? What does a consultant do? What does a consultant do? Why are consultants used? Why are consultants used? Types of Assignments Types of Assignments Range of problems Range of problems Qualities of a consultant Qualities of a consultant Proposals Proposals Consulting Process Consulting Process Research Research Frameworks Frameworks Common Tools Common Tools Stages of Consultancy Stages of Consultancy

3 Contents cont Reporting Reporting Report Format Report Format Golden Rules Golden Rules Presentation Presentation Art of Consulting Art of Consulting Culture of consulting Culture of consulting Managing Expectations Managing Expectations Further Reading Further Reading

4 What is a consultant? An expert who is called on for professional or technical advice or opinions An expert who is called on for professional or technical advice or opinions very skillful very skillful having much training & knowledge in a special field having much training & knowledge in a special field A consultant must be an effective learner A consultant must be an effective learner capable of acquiring knowledge and skill from experience capable of acquiring knowledge and skill from experience with or without training with or without training

5 Light hearted definition of a consultant: Light hearted definition of a consultant: A consultant is someone who comes in, borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, keeps the watch, & charges you an exorbitant fee

6 What does a consultant do? A consultant is usually outside the client organization A consultant is usually outside the client organization Consultants learn about their clients from observing them Consultants learn about their clients from observing them it is what they learn that they share it is what they learn that they share Sees through fresh eyes what is obvious Sees through fresh eyes what is obvious Comes up with “common sense” solutions Comes up with “common sense” solutions But “common sense” is that common But “common sense” is that common A consultant helps others profit or learn from their own experience A consultant helps others profit or learn from their own experience helps clients see the value of their experience helps clients see the value of their experience so fees are rarely seen as "exorbitant" so fees are rarely seen as "exorbitant"

7 Why are consultants used? Providing specialist knowledge & skills Providing specialist knowledge & skills New techniques & methods New techniques & methods Supplying intensive assistance on temporary basis Supplying intensive assistance on temporary basis Concentrate on short-term operational problems Concentrate on short-term operational problems Contribute to long term conceptual strategies Contribute to long term conceptual strategies Impartial outside viewpoint Impartial outside viewpoint Alternative to personal & existing traditions within firm Alternative to personal & existing traditions within firm Proving management with arguments Proving management with arguments Use consultants to support a management idea Use consultants to support a management idea

8 Types of Assignments Management Survey Management Survey First stage of a consulting assignment First stage of a consulting assignment Gain valuable information to make decisions Gain valuable information to make decisions Special surveys & studies Special surveys & studies Feasibility studies for new investment Feasibility studies for new investment Market research Market research Consumer attitudes Consumer attitudes Solutions for defined problem Solutions for defined problem New organisation chart New organisation chart Re-engineering of business Re-engineering of business Management information systems Management information systems HR Planning, performance measurement & reward HR Planning, performance measurement & reward

9 Types of Assignment cont Project Implementation Project Implementation Actually manage programmes Actually manage programmes Selecting & training personnel Selecting & training personnel Change management Change management Advisor role Advisor role Answering specific questions when asked Answering specific questions when asked Expressing an opinion Expressing an opinion Dispute management Dispute management

10 Consultants Prayer Grant me: COURAGE to change what I can PATIENCE to accept what can’t be changed WISDOM to know the difference

11 Range of problems Corrective, progressive & creative problems Corrective, progressive & creative problems Rectify a deteriorating situation Rectify a deteriorating situation Improve an existing situation Improve an existing situation Create a new situation Create a new situation Management functions & techniques Management functions & techniques Financial, Marketing, HR, Production, Strategy Financial, Marketing, HR, Production, Strategy Technological & Social Technological & Social Relationship between technology & labour force Relationship between technology & labour force

12 Qualities of a consultant Extroverted rather than Introverted Extroverted rather than Introverted you will be visiting clients who you haven't known before you will be visiting clients who you haven't known before Need to get along well with team members Need to get along well with team members Perceptive Rather than Judgmental Perceptive Rather than Judgmental Spend time hypothesizing Spend time hypothesizing Perceptive Perceptive Flexible given travel schedules & need to adapt quickly to client's needs Flexible given travel schedules & need to adapt quickly to client's needs Have tolerance for ambiguity Have tolerance for ambiguity

13 Qualities of a consultant cont Thinking Rather than Feeling Thinking Rather than Feeling logical & objective logical & objective Don’t get involved in client politics, but Don’t get involved in client politics, but have empathy & sympathize with team members have empathy & sympathize with team members Sensing & Intuitive Sensing & Intuitive Realist - see what is actual Realist - see what is actual Visionary - intuitively "see" where a company or industry is going Visionary - intuitively "see" where a company or industry is going

14 Bad consultancy qualities Sees problems & not solutions Sees problems & not solutions Identifies reasons why something can’t happen Identifies reasons why something can’t happen don’t know how to fix it don’t know how to fix it Baffles with science Baffles with science play with flipcharts, slides & PowerPoint presentations play with flipcharts, slides & PowerPoint presentations make booming pronouncements that no one can understand make booming pronouncements that no one can understand make client wonder if there’s more than a little more smoke & mirrors than real consultancy make client wonder if there’s more than a little more smoke & mirrors than real consultancy

15 Bad consultancy qualities cont Does the “job” Does the “job” no more, no less & leave clients without a workable solution no more, no less & leave clients without a workable solution Sticks to TORs Sticks to TORs Gives client what they asked for Gives client what they asked for But not what they need to succeed But not what they need to succeed Over analyze Over analyze Takes problem apart Takes problem apart Analyzes to anal detail Analyzes to anal detail Leaves client worse off Leaves client worse off

16 Proposals Our understanding of services required Our understanding of services required shows that you understand the subject – you should give some background knowledge to demonstrate that you understand sector shows that you understand the subject – you should give some background knowledge to demonstrate that you understand sector Our company’s experience Our company’s experience shows what you have done in the past shows what you have done in the past Our comments on the TORs Our comments on the TORs your chance to make comments to improve the TORs, or clear up any misunderstandings your chance to make comments to improve the TORs, or clear up any misunderstandings

17 Proposals cont Our approach to the assignment Our approach to the assignment how you will do the work, what methodologies & tools you will use how you will do the work, what methodologies & tools you will use Our team Our team who will do the work, short cvs of the people & why they are the best people who will do the work, short cvs of the people & why they are the best people Our work-plan Our work-plan a time bound plan of who does what & when a time bound plan of who does what & when Our financial proposal Our financial proposal how much it will cost - number days, at what rate, for each person in team, plus estimate of expenses how much it will cost - number days, at what rate, for each person in team, plus estimate of expenses

18 Proposals cont Annexes Annexes Company profile Company profile List of similar work List of similar work Full curriculum vitae of each team member Full curriculum vitae of each team member Anything else to support your proposal Anything else to support your proposal

19 Typical Consulting Process Research Plan Condu ct Desk Resea rch Condu ct Primar y Resear ch Concep tual Frame work Strateg ic Frame work Typical Implementation Process Organization Framework Training Framework Monitoring & Evaluation

20 Research Plan Research Plan: Taking the time upfront to develop a research plan will help to ensure the research program acquires the correct data in a productive and timely fashion. A good plan will typically have five components: 1 - Research objectives 2 - Data required 3 - Potential sources 4 - Preferred collection methods 5 - Estimated timeline

21 Conduct Desk Research Desk Research: This is the identification and collection of existing qualitative (press releases) and quantitative (UN/World Bank/Official Govt reports, Development Plans) data from on-line (internet) and off-line (UN, manuals, published material) sources: Desk research source for most data on strategy development Persistence & creativity important to successful desk research A wide variety of data sources are generally required More valuable data is becoming available on-line Some of the best data sources are still off-line

22 Conduct Primary Researc h Primary Research: This involves the creation of new information and insight, which is tailor-made to get the data required: Provides information that is exclusive, unpublished, new & unique Uses interviewing, most common primary research method, to collect data Uses focus groups to collect qualitative data from small groups Uses large-scale, quantitative research techniques to collect data from a large sample

23 Interview Methods to Collect Qualitative Data Structured face-to-face interviews Structured telephone interviews Unstructured face-to-face interviews Unstructured telephone interviews Guided conversations Interview Methods to Collect Quantitative Data The type of data to be collected, and that which is available, strongly influences the method used to collect it. Collecting quantitative data requires a more structured method, and, conversely, Collecting qualitative data can use a less structured, less formal approach Unstructured interviews are quite conversational, whereas Structured interviews follow a detailed, specific interview guide

24 Interview Methods to Collect Quantitative Data Unstructured face-to-face interviews Unstructured telephone interviews Guided conversations Interview Methods to Collect Qualitative Data Unstructured Interviews Structured questionnaire Mixture of open and closed questions to maintain interest Conversational rather than questions only Topical issues and areas, with more open questions than closed Need to probe into areas of interest! Structured Interviews Recording Responses Characteristics Written responses/ structured response sheet Ranking/ scoring & categorical responses Numerical data Written responses/tape recording Some ranking/categorical responses When clear what questions to ask When the data collection is quantifiable or numerical At the beginning of interviewing When working out what questions to ask as part of designing a quantitative approach When canvassing for opinions/ quotes When to use

25 Interviews Interaction generates new ideas, exchanges of opinion—can be very creative Allows understanding/ sense of the group’s opinion Allows comparison & contrasts of the reactions of different groups (men versus women, young versus old) More opinions more quickly Wider range of views Good value for money Avoids peer group pressure Allows people to voice less acceptable views Allows focus on an individual’s opinion Where sample difficult to recruit, represents easier recruitment than for focus groups More expensive Focus Groups Advantages & Disadvantages of chosen methods

26 Concept ual Framewo rk Analysis of primary & secondary data to develop conceptual framework to deliver resources to achieve results - guiding principles: The project must take into consideration the objectives of existing main stream development plans: National SME Development Plan, Socio-economic development plan, Poverty Reduction Plans, Programme Documents There should be effective project management: Ensures quality & cost effectiveness

27 Concept ual Framewo rk Guiding principles (cont) There must be transparency & effective supervision: Encourages probity & transparency leading to a fair distribution of economic benefits Private sector participation & empowerment must be encouraged: Overarching principle; creates ownership &livelihood opportunities

28 Strategic Framewo rk Defines how the conceptual framework can be implemented by knowing & understanding development issues Develops the strategic objectives to address the development issues Determines the interventions/ activities that are needed to achieve the objectives Allocates responsibilities & time frames to these interventions States the desired end results, which will address the defined issues

29 Strategic Framework Statement of Problem to be addressed Objective of Intervention Activities Responsible Dept & Timescale Desired end result What is the problem? How does it affect the business environment? How are women affected? What is the scale of the problem? Who has identified the problem? Private Sector & Authorities contribute to all steps in this process Has the objective been clearly stated? Which sub- Component does it address? Have women & the SMEs been consulted? Has each step in the process been defined? Are the steps logical? Are women & SMEs involved in the process? Who is responsible & accountable for the activities? When will the process start & end? What is the intervention going to produce? What are the expected outcomes from the intervention? How will the intervention improve lives of women?

30 Organizational Framework Defines how the programme is institutionalized, how it works, collaborates & integrates with existing institutions, Government, Donors, non-governmental organisations, groups & communities Defines roles & responsibilities of key players at each phase of programme

31 Training Framewo rk Defines training needs : To sensitize officials to development needs of SMEs: customer orientation, needs of SMEs, gender issues, how to assess needs, how to prioritise planning, how to develop action steps & work- plans, need for transparency To sensitise professionals to needs of SMEs: lawyers & legal; accountants & audit; technicians & technology Training of business counsellors: leadership, principles of counselling, problem solving, decision making, health & safety

32 Training Framewo rk SMES: how to manage their business, entrepreneurship, production & process management, marketing & market research, costing & pricing, human resource management & labour safety For BDS suppliers: how to deliver services, how to be profitable & how to please your customer Training of business associations: transparency, empowerment, mobilisation of members, participation & monitoring

33 Monitorin g & Evaluation Defines project governance: project management team, project steering group, procurement & financial management procedures Defines monitoring process & techniques: development of performance indicators & measurement methods; supervision of programme quality & cost control; adherence to project objectives; involvement of private sector; monthly or quarterly reporting; mid-term evaluation of the progress Defines evaluation techniques: evaluation team : framework for evaluation - quality & value for money, transparency; adherence to project principles – involvement of private sector; project & financial management

34 Common Tools SWOT SWOT Strengths Strengths Weaknesses Weaknesses Opportunities Opportunities Threats Threats PEST PEST Political Political Economic Economic Sociological Sociological Technological Technological

35 Common Tools logFRAME logFRAME Intervention Measurable Indicators Means of Measurement Risks & Assumptions GOAL PURPOSE OUTPUTS ACTIVITIES What are the indicators which can be measured: QuantityQualityTimeWhoWhere How to verify measure of success? What data? Where to find it? How often? What forces within & external will prevent success Pre-conditions Costs: budget Means: what resources are needed

36 Stages of Consultancy Lead Lead Expression of Interest Expression of Interest Proposal Proposal Contract Contract Inception Inception Phase 1 ….n Phase 1 ….n Exit Strategy Exit Strategy Identifying & winning work Implementation & Delivery

37 Report Format Executive Summary Executive Summary Short, easy to read, summary of the report Short, easy to read, summary of the report Findings, analysis & recommendations Findings, analysis & recommendations Introduction Introduction Background to the assignment & sector Background to the assignment & sector Methodology Methodology Description of your approach, methodologies & tools used to conduct assignment Description of your approach, methodologies & tools used to conduct assignment Findings Findings Report on major findings of assignment Report on major findings of assignment Highlights of most interesting findings Highlights of most interesting findings

38 Report Format cont Analysis of findings Analysis of findings Comment on findings & what they mean Comment on findings & what they mean Your understanding of findings Your understanding of findings Sometimes referred to as Conclusions Sometimes referred to as Conclusions Recommendations Recommendations Your suggestions for solutions Your suggestions for solutions Strategic direction Strategic direction Implementation/action plan Implementation/action plan LogFRAME LogFRAME

39 Report Format cont Annexes Annexes Terms of reference Terms of reference Tools & methodology Tools & methodology Survey/questionnaire Survey/questionnaire Detailed findings Detailed findings Detailed implementation/action plan Detailed implementation/action plan LogFRAME LogFRAME Maps & diagrammes as appropriate Maps & diagrammes as appropriate

40 Golden rules KISS KISS Keep it Simple & Short! Keep it Simple & Short! Good theories can be explained to a child Good theories can be explained to a child Write clear summary Write clear summary Major findings & analysis Major findings & analysis Major recommendations Major recommendations Justify all findings Justify all findings Give examples of where recommendations have worked before Give examples of where recommendations have worked before List similar projects/programmes List similar projects/programmes Prove tried & tested track record Prove tried & tested track record Demonstrate applicability to client’s needs Demonstrate applicability to client’s needs

41 Golden rules cont Use graphics & tables to illustrate findings Use graphics & tables to illustrate findings Reference tables & graphics in main text Reference tables & graphics in main text Explain tables & graphics Explain tables & graphics Put detail in Annexes Put detail in Annexes All annexes should have a reference from main text All annexes should have a reference from main text Date report Date report Have clear & attractive cover Have clear & attractive cover Include clients logo, your logo, date of report Include clients logo, your logo, date of report Include Contents page Include Contents page Include list of abbreviations, glossary of terms Include list of abbreviations, glossary of terms

42 Presentation Draft a ppt to present major items from report Draft a ppt to present major items from report KISS KISS No more than 5-6 bullet points No more than 5-6 bullet points Do not repeat report Do not repeat report Do not use too many words on slides Do not use too many words on slides Use graphics & tables Use graphics & tables Keep them simple & clear Keep them simple & clear 20 Minutes maximum 20 Minutes maximum Unless client wants longer Unless client wants longer Leave plenty of time for questions & answers Leave plenty of time for questions & answers

43 Art of Consulting Help the client save face Help the client save face Do not “sweep problems under the rug.” Do not “sweep problems under the rug.” Good consultants know that problems occur Good consultants know that problems occur Face brutal reality but still find ways to support client Face brutal reality but still find ways to support client Use positive versus negative language Use positive versus negative language There is always a positive way of saying something There is always a positive way of saying something Assume the best of intentions & actions Assume the best of intentions & actions Client actions would have been for best Client actions would have been for best But they may have been misguided But they may have been misguided

44 Art of Consulting cont See big picture See big picture Your clients aren’t running their business in vacuum Your clients aren’t running their business in vacuum Good consultants listen to their clients & try to understand the overall context Good consultants listen to their clients & try to understand the overall context Listen Listen Put things in context Put things in context Find out what the organization is trying to do Find out what the organization is trying to do Do not “play politics” Do not “play politics” Try to find win/win solutions Try to find win/win solutions

45 Art of Consulting cont Think like a client Think like a client Often preached, seldom practiced Often preached, seldom practiced Pretend that you are any of the real people at client Pretend that you are any of the real people at client Think about their boss, their boss’s boss Think about their boss, their boss’s boss How will your help benefit them as well as business? How will your help benefit them as well as business? What damage could you do if you didn’t do your job right? What damage could you do if you didn’t do your job right? What could you, the consultant, do to gain their trust? What could you, the consultant, do to gain their trust?

46 Art of Consulting cont Don’t be one of the gang Don’t be one of the gang You are coach to their team; but you are not on their team You are coach to their team; but you are not on their team Be a friendly consultant but not their friend. Be a friendly consultant but not their friend. Maintain a professional distance by being a notch or two more formal at all times than you would with coworkers Maintain a professional distance by being a notch or two more formal at all times than you would with coworkers Stay away from “sugarcoating” Stay away from “sugarcoating” Keep client informed even if it means giving bad news Keep client informed even if it means giving bad news Be tactful but direct enough Be tactful but direct enough Have a solution Have a solution Work out a solution before you give bad news Work out a solution before you give bad news

47 Culture of Consulting Care about client Care about client Never let client fail Never let client fail Make client feel good Make client feel good Keep “client success” in mind Keep “client success” in mind Write this goal in your mission statement Write this goal in your mission statement Keep orienting your thinking to client Keep orienting your thinking to client Maintain relevance Maintain relevance Don’t confuse client Don’t confuse client Draw conclusions – don’t assume anything is inferred or understood Draw conclusions – don’t assume anything is inferred or understood

48 Managing Expectations Manage expectations or be managed! Manage expectations or be managed! Expectations are deeper & broader than requirements Expectations are deeper & broader than requirements Expectations are client's vision of future state Expectations are client's vision of future state usually unstated but critical to assignment success usually unstated but critical to assignment success work towards same goals work towards same goals project targets are less precise project targets are less precise performance criteria are demanding performance criteria are demanding presentations or deliverables allow clients to judge performance presentations or deliverables allow clients to judge performance

49 Managing Expectations cont Primary measure of success Primary measure of success Satisfaction is how close you have come to client expectations Satisfaction is how close you have come to client expectations NOT how close to wording of contract or scope of work NOT how close to wording of contract or scope of work Expectations drive client's actions & decisions Expectations drive client's actions & decisions Not their everyday duties Not their everyday duties Not your rational explanations Not your rational explanations

50 Setting Expectations Expectations set by events Expectations set by events Something you said or did Something you said or did even the way you said it even the way you said it Something client picked up Something client picked up They are not developed in a vacuum They are not developed in a vacuum Capturing/Monitoring Expectations Capturing/Monitoring Expectations You cannot manage what you can't measure You cannot manage what you can't measure You cannot manage expectations unless you monitor them You cannot manage expectations unless you monitor them listen to clients listen to clients hear & understand them hear & understand them

51 Influence Expectations Expectations may be well founded Expectations may be well founded Consultant may need to change approach & style Consultant may need to change approach & style Managed expectations drive success Managed expectations drive success Everything else is secondary Everything else is secondary Set expectations at beginning Set expectations at beginning Monitor expectations during Monitor expectations during Influence expectation before end Influence expectation before end SMISMI

52 Further Reading Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship Do you have what is takes to be an entrepreneur? Do you have what is takes to be an entrepreneur? So you want to be a success at selling? So you want to be a success at selling? So you want to be a good negotiator? So you want to be a good negotiator? So you want to communicate? So you want to communicate? Business management Business management So you want to hold a meeting? So you want to hold a meeting? So you want to understand financial statements? So you want to understand financial statements? So you want to understand non-financial aspects of a business? So you want to understand non-financial aspects of a business? So how do business associations work? So how do business associations work? A new approach to skills development A new approach to skills development Strategic Planning Strategic Planning What is in a Strategic Plan? What is in a Strategic Plan? What is a Mission Statement? What is a Mission Statement? What is change about? What is change about?

53 Thank you Garry Robert Whitby


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