DISRUPTION IN CONSULTING: respond, adapt and reinvent.

Disruption in consulting
Jennifer Debatisse – senior manager @ ngage

Consultancies support their clients in a multitude of ways. As a result, while the global economy seems to be slowing down, the consulting industry continues to enjoy robust growth. However, traditional consulting firms are facing a growing number of challenges like the rise of new business models and pressures exerted by consultancies of different shapes, sizes and flavors. Many surveys even reflect some concerns about the future of the industry. Before shaking up the whole system, if we start by changing these ten not-so-little things?

  1. Boost ecosystem strategy - In today's market, collaboration is no longer an advantage but a necessity. Consultants must increase their permeability to the external world. This means actively partnering to deliver end-to-end value by both scaling existing capabilities and leveraging the partner ecosystem whenever specialists are needed. This requires putting ego aside and embracing cooperation beyond the walls.

  2. Wow customer experiences - In today’s time when most of the offerings are homogeneous, it’s not just about the product anymore. Focus must also be on managing customer’s perceptions and related feelings. Consultants also need to speak the customer experience language i.e. how to respond to changing customer's expectations, new competition, new business models and technological innovations – even in the B2B world.

  3. Think & work differently - Consultants bring and demonstrate top-notch methodological know-how and expertise. However, new challenges and new generations are much more demanding. Clients want innovative approaches to fuel their imagination and unlock new ideas. They need fresh approaches challenging their routine ways of working and thinking patterns. Consultants must deliver excellence and enriching journeys.   

  4. Create market attraction - In a reputation-based business, content marketing has evolved into a vital cornerstone. Social media, e-books, blog posts, video and infographics make an impact. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start exploring the value added to your company. Building brand awareness, increasing conversion rates and reducing costs. Get your content strategy right and let it do the hard work for you.

  5. Become your own agent of disruption - Value proposition & innovation is essential to create new sources of value and grow differentiating competitive advantage. An increasing number of consulting firms provide innovative engagement and consulting services outside the traditional project-based model. Focus should not be on eliminating, mitigating or managing risk. Instead, embrace it! Even small initiatives to disrupt can bring large results.

  6. Bet on human transformation - Despite the best structure, processes and tools in place, people bring the real change. Consultants must also strengthen the capabilities to support clients in all human issues. The focus should be to build shared identities, increase engagement and simultaneously help people grow through amazing employee experiences. Aligning people, culture and business structure with the overall strategy is challenging, yet necessary.

  7. Match people for learning and sharing – Cross fertilization of ideas unlocks development and growth. Consultants must act as conveners, facilitators and catalysts. They should offer clients a space where they can try out innovative ideas, share knowledge with each other and explore new territories – in a safe and caring environment. Icing on the cake, such peer to peer exchanges creates heart to heart bonding, which has no price.

  8. Share as much as you can - Offer value as day one and don't let the cynics tell you that this won’t get you very far! The ability to establish, nurture and grow an authentic relationship based upon trust, loyalty, honesty and mutual respect is a stepping stone towards both growth and competitive advantage. The pleasure of giving without expectation is more rewarding than expecting without giving (Steven Aitchison).

  9. Skill, reskill and reskill again - In a dynamic sector like consulting, lifelong learning is not an option. What has been working in the past might not work in the future. Skill obsolescence is the unavoidable future which consultants can mitigate only by placing their top performers at the most critical positions and continuously giving them training and stretching opportunities to keep on expanding their skills.

  10. Nurture your talents - As work and organizations have become more fluid - and business strategy is no longer about planning years out but about sensing new opportunities in a constantly changing environment - talent has never been more important to the success of a company. Consultants should attract, acquire, manage, retain and deploy talent as successfully as they deploy money or products & services.

What do you think? Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this and to share information that could be of benefit to all. We’d love to hear from you.

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