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So you think you will make a good consultant?

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Presentation on theme: "So you think you will make a good consultant?"— Presentation transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Consultants Prayer COURAGE to change what I can
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
Rectify a deteriorating situation Improve an existing situation Create a new situation Management functions & techniques Financial, Marketing, HR, Production, Strategy Technological & Social Relationship between technology & labour force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 Typical Consulting Process Typical Implementation Process
Research Plan Conduct Desk Research Primary Research Conceptual Framework Strategic 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 Research 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 Unstructured interviews are quite conversational, whereas
Interview Methods to Collect Qualitative Data Interview Methods to Collect Quantitative Data Unstructured face-to-face interviews Unstructured telephone interviews Guided conversations Structured face-to-face interviews Structured telephone interviews 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 Unstructured Interviews Structured Interviews
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 Advantages & Disadvantages of chosen methods
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

26 Conceptual Framework 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 Conceptual Framework 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 Framework 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 Defines training needs:
Framework 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 Framework 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 Monitoring & 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 PEST Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
Political Economic Sociological Technological

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

43 Art of Consulting Help the client save face
Do not “sweep problems under the rug.” Good consultants know that problems occur Face brutal reality but still find ways to support client Use positive versus negative language There is always a positive way of saying something Assume the best of intentions & actions Client actions would have been for best But they may have been misguided Think about these two comments from consultant to client: 1: “The way you have done it works but it’s only half the speed it should be” vs. 2: “The way you have done it works and we know a way to make it even faster, maybe even twice as fast.” (Note the difference, without changing meaning, that comes from using “and” in place of “but.”) Comments from consultant to client again: 1. “If you had spent a little more time looking you could have found five software packages better than this one. This is the worst one” vs. 2. “With your busy schedule you probably needed to find a software package that worked and this one does. We have the time to look at a lot of packages.” (Note that you put your firm up without putting the client down.)

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

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

46 Art of Consulting cont Don’t be one of the gang
You are coach to their team; but you are not on their team 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 Stay away from “sugarcoating”  Keep client informed even if it means giving bad news Be tactful but direct enough Have a solution Work out a solution before you give bad news

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

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

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

50 Setting Expectations Expectations set by events
Something you said or did even the way you said it Something client picked up They are not developed in a vacuum Capturing/Monitoring Expectations You cannot manage what you can't measure You cannot manage expectations unless you monitor them listen to clients hear & understand them You can't know what the expectation setting is unless you actively search for it and continue monitoring it. You might even have to test it, to see how it's set. Think of a power switch that doesn't have "on" and "off" labels. You don't know whether it's in the on or off position, unless you switch it on and off a couple of times. You can test expectations by dropping hints and clues of your next steps and watching how they react

51 Influence Expectations
Expectations may be well founded Consultant may need to change approach & style Managed expectations drive success Everything else is secondary Set expectations at beginning Monitor expectations during Influence expectation before end S M I Once you have pinpointed the expectation and you know the source, it's time to play the influence challenge. This is what our managers usually meant when they said "manage their expectations." Often they overlook the setting and monitoring components and expect you to "talk your way" out of anything. But it's so hard to talk your way out of anything unless you address the root causes.

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

53 Thank you Garry Robert Whitby

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