Management consultants are finding that today’s market demands the ability to pivot like never before. A global recession and the aftermath of the pandemic means more businesses are turning to consultants but their needs have changed.
Companies have dealt for years with consultancy firms providing one-size-fits-all solutions. They drum up immediate enthusiasm from the C-suite, the ideas are disseminated to the workers. The solutions are followed for a few months or years and then die a quiet death with little to show for the effort. Businesses are taking a more long-term approach to consultancy. Here are the changes from consulting that businesses are demanding.
1. Specialists Are In Demand
In the past, business generalists were the consultancy norm, finding ways to make each business fit their consulting models. Now, businesses are looking for consultants that know their business model from top-to-bottom. People like Michael Canzian or J.J. Keller with backgrounds in private equity and OSHA compliance, respectively, can provide the detailed knowledge that their industries require.
2. Relationships Are Long-Term
As noted above, business consultants were known for coming in, recommending changes, building a little momentum, and disappearing into the gloaming. Businesses are looking for consultants now who are willing to be long-term business partners. To instigate real change, management consultants need to know what happens when they aren’t around. They are expected to keep an eye on the business and help it guide it back into a successful path when it gets off track.
Field experts see it as the difference between helping a business solve a short-term problem versus helping them to build a better business with a larger capacity. It helps the consultant learn the business culture from the inside and make helpful, customized recommendations, which leads to the third change in management consultancy.
3. Solutions Are Customized
Classic consulting solutions like the Four Disciplines of Execution or Six Sigma, or general advice like “tell stories” and “give honest feedback” can help focus a business, but are so general and well-known at this point as to be moot. Businesses are looking for consultants who can offer custom solutions based on their own needs. By getting to know a company, a consultant can see how some of the classic solutions can be tailored to fit the situation and they can exercise creativity, bringing completely new solutions to the table.
Rather than seeing themselves as troubleshooters, providing quick fixes, and hoping for the best, today’s consultants focus on clients within a specific arena, get to know their business details, partnering with them to provide business-changing solutions.