In my last post, I focused on the value of using a consultant, i.e., identifying the situations in which a consultant can come into the organization and truly add value. I finished that post with a list of 10 results that would tell you that your organization did indeed get value from the consulting engagement.
As I finished, however, I knew that I wanted to dig a little deeper for/with our blog readers. Nearly 40 years of consulting work has shown me that, beyond that list of 10 results, the greatest value a consultant can give a client is facilitating the truth becoming known. What do I mean? For a multitude of reasons, the CEO often sees the organization as a mirror image of what it truly is. Therefore, a far-reaching value a consultant can add is to get a CEO and an organization to clearly see the real truth and then be trained on the tools needed to push forward.
Here are some means that an effective consultant uses to get an organization to acknowledge and work with the truth.
- Facilitation that creates safety for team members who work together every day to state issues that have never been stated and develop sound ideas for solution
- Tools and/or facilitation that bring forth voices and issues that are not heard from in normal operations, like those of the front line, customer groups, etc.
- Tools and facilitation that enable a group to look directly at the issues and effectively begin strategizing and problem solving
- Identification of outpoints or illogic in discussion and asking the questions that bring to the table previously unknown information
- Understanding that the real problem is usually two or more layers below where the symptoms appear and being able to get the team/organization to the root cause and thus a real solution
- Walking leaders through a process to come to certainty on a plan of action to close gaps between the organization they see and the one seen by their staff and team.
Here is an illustration of how learning and then dealing with what is true adds real value to an organization. Having completed several hundred strategic plans, a consistent pattern has emerged. In the first year of strategic planning, the team often ends up focusing largely on internal improvement issues that were uncovered in the planning process and that were previously not known or not addressed. These issues are a reflection of what is true in the organization, but what has not been recognized by leadership. Not knowing and addressing the true condition of the organization can derail its growth and eventual success.
Here are samples of improvement issues that were uncovered and then addressed by leadership teams in past Vision Navigation® plans we have facilitated.
- We are trying to implement too many changes for existing resources
- Communication is lacking from top down/bottom up
- Policies and procedures are lacking and/or not followed
- We are not structured for good teamwork
- Symptoms of problems are treated, not causes
- We have an unwillingness to change
- Staff are not adequately trained for their positions
- Resource allocation review is needed
- Management structure is unclear
- We need consistent effective leadership
After discussing these and similar issues, the management team sees clearly that failure to handle these issues will prevent execution of whatever new strategy they may develop to grow the organization. They need to first handle the issues to get the organization into a position to effectively execute. In each case, our consultant team and tools enabled the group to gently but tenaciously dig down to the truth that was preventing them from going to the next level.
Questions or thoughts? I am interested in your feedback. Send me an e-mail to start a conversation.