Consultants must balance strategy and execution as they help clients achieve desired outcomes and build confidence.
In this blog, let’s look at how to achieve these objectives.
Consultants must bring a strategic view to the table when working with clients. This means that they need to understand the client’s business, the goals, and the challenges they face.
This is important because clients are trying to get to a desired state in their business. However tactical the current project or engagement might seem, it is either bridging an important gap, is a band-aid solution, or is an incremental step to something bigger.
You can execute this by using a maturity model or a diagnostic assessment.
While they may not be able to influence the direction, consultants who are able to bring this systematic insight and structure to their clients build trust and credibility. They are then able to probe their clients and unearth additional insights.
Balancing strategy and execution helps define the right things to work on.
Strategy does not preempt good execution. They go hand in hand.
Consultants are often invited because they have existing expertise, can hit the ground running, and deliver as expected. Hence, they must be able to execute well in their chosen area.
As they execute, consultants should try to create measurable goals that are aligned with the strategic objectives. This would ensure that their effort is viewed in terms of the value delivered, not just in hours or days.
When you have started with the strategic analysis, you will be able to identify thee milestones, map them to the benefits, and mitigate risks that could impact success of you and the project.
Finally, consultants must be able to showcase the overall value they have delivered to their clients.
This means that they need to clearly articulate the benefits of the strategy and the impact it was expected to have on the client’s business.
A good way to do that is to refer back to the strategic view, and show how that view has changed over time.
For example, a digital consultant would outline how the overall digital maturity has evolved. An analytics consultant would showcase how the overall analytical maturity has improved, and so on.
If you brought a strategic view in the first place, then showcasing the value delivered in addition to the effort spent is relatively simple. Even if you are only a part of the overall value, your strategic partnership will be appreciated by the client.
One way experts can develop the strategic view and balance the three areas is by conducting an as-is analysis and helping the client develop a roadmap for improvement. An as-is analysis involves identifying the current state of the relevant business area. This analysis helps the consultant and the client identify areas that have opportunity for improvement.
One powerful tool is the Maturity model. It’s a multi-dimensional assessment tool for breaking down large problem areas into smaller, more manageable pieces. Maturity models define a set of characteristics or attributes that are associated with a particular level of maturity. By systematically evaluating the client’s current state against the maturity model, the consultant and client can together identify specific areas for improvement – thus leading to the “right work” to be delivered. SEI’s Capability Maturity Model is a popular maturity model.
A sample maturity model is below. This can be much simpler or more complex depending on the subject area and the detail that is required.
Even if you are unable to influence a change in direction (very likely), you have at least demonstrated your alignment to your clients goals.
Once the as-is analysis is complete, the consultant can help the client develop or review their roadmap for improvement. The roadmap will include measurable goals and objectives so that progress can be tracked and demonstrated.
When used in this manner, maturity models can also be used to balance strategy & Execution and track progress over time. By re-evaluating the client’s state against the maturity model at regular intervals, the consultant can not only show progress but also identify areas where additional improvements can be made.
Consultants and experts must balance strategy & execution, and showcase value, not just effort, to be successful. Conducting an as-is analysis and developing a roadmap for improvement can help consultants achieve this balance. Maturity models are a useful tool for breaking down large problem areas into smaller, more manageable pieces and for tracking progress over time.
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Action: To get started with creating a maturity model / assessment in your area of expertise, just create an account on Evalinator. Your subscription comes with a 2 week free trial. There are several templates available to give you a flying start. And we are here to help you too.