How to think like a management consultant?

Be open minded to changing ideas and other approaches. The more you think and act like a consultant, the more respect you'll receive from customers and account teams. Generating that respect will allow you to suggest more interesting solutions to work on better projects. Ultimately, it will help you grow your career, even if you don't dream of being a consultant.

Management consultants like to leave behind something of lasting value. This means not only improving customers' ability to deal with immediate problems, but also helping them learn the methods needed to deal with future challenges. This doesn't mean that effective professionals are out of work. Satisfied customers will recommend them to others and invite them to come back the next time it's needed.

In general, effective implementation requires consensus, commitment, and new problem-solving techniques and management methods. This kind of thing happens more often than management consultants like to admit, and not just in developing countries. Competent diagnosis requires more than an examination of the external environment, the technology and economics of the company and the behavior of the non-management members of the organization. It's equally important for managers, who need not only expert advice but also practical help to improve the organization's future performance.

When the consulting process encourages experimentation with more effective forms of management, it can make its most valuable contribution to management practice. Management consultants are less likely to address purposes 6 to 8 explicitly, and their clients are less likely to request them. In assimilating managers' explanations of why progress is difficult, the consultant must also consider other possible barriers. As managers understand the wider range of purposes that excellent consulting can help achieve, they will select consultants more intelligently and expect more value from them.

Frohman, “An Organization Development Approach to Consulting”, Sloan Management Review, Fall 1970, p. The extent to which they can be incorporated into more traditional methods to achieve objectives depends on the understanding and skill with which the entire consulting relationship is managed. However, the process by which an accurate diagnosis is made sometimes tests the relationship between consultant and client, as managers are often afraid of discovering difficult situations for which they can be blamed. Increasingly, the best management consultants define their objective not only as recommending solutions, but also as helping to institutionalize more effective management processes.

As the process continues, managers naturally begin to implement corrective measures without having to wait for formal recommendations. Or management may wonder how to restructure the organization so that it can adapt more easily to changes; what financial policies to adopt; or what is the most practical solution to a problem of compensation, morale, efficiency, internal communication, control, management succession, or anything else. It follows that managers must be willing to experiment with new procedures during the course of a contract and not wait until the end of the project before starting to implement the change.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

Certified pizza specialist. Incurable food evangelist. Tv advocate. Amateur travel lover. Hardcore pizza practitioner.