What Does a Management Consultant Do?

Management consultants are hired to help organizations solve big business problems. They are employees of management consultancies or organizational firms that focus on helping companies. Decision makers hire management consultants to advise, among other things, on strategy and organizational issues. They can be asked to develop a new strategic plan to, for example, achieve greater growth, or they can be asked to advise on innovation or cost reduction strategies.

Implementing the proposed solutions is also one of their tasks and, in practice, the execution part of the consultancy constitutes the largest market for management consultants. Tasks can range from improving the efficiency of business processes, implementing new IT systems, outsourcing non-essential tasks, or optimizing the supply chain. Management consultants typically remain involved until change transitions are complete and new ways of working become part of “business as usual” operations. 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.

Strategic consulting is simply a subset and a type of consulting that falls within the broader framework of management consulting. Management consultants are among the employees most sought after by companies in all sectors. And clients have the right to expect all management consultants, whatever their specialty, to be sensitive to human relationships and processes and to be trained to improve the organization's capacity to solve future and present problems. Usually, this competitive advantage comes in the form of highly talented employees, combined with highly specialized research or analysis methods that the management consulting firm has developed and refined over time. Finally, management consulting firms develop expertise in specific areas over time, because they tend to concentrate their efforts on specific areas of interest.

In other words, management consultants offer an alternative and independent point of view that can help a company determine if its internal decision-making is optimal. When assimilating managers' explanations of why progress is difficult, the consultant must also consider other possible barriers. Consultants who include this purpose in their practice contribute to the most important task of top management: maintaining the future viability of the organization in a changing world. At first glance, the industry seems glamorous: lots of air travel, working on complex business problems, and exposure to top managers. Now that you know what a consultant, and more specifically a management consultant, does every day, it's time to make a decision. We'll also share some unbiased commentary on the management consulting industry: the good and the bad. However, the process by which an accurate diagnosis is established sometimes tests the relationship between consultant and client, as managers are often afraid of discovering difficult situations for which they can be blamed.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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