A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working with a company purely on a consultancy basis. Until recently I rarely got this type of opportunity, as most consulting that I do is preparation for designing a piece of learning.
I was a little concerned at first that the client would feel they have spent a lot of money and got nothing for it. How wrong I was. Despite the lack of tangible outcomes, the HR and training team couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of the day.
They had been grappling for some time with what seemed like a large but relatively straightforward project. The trouble is, it wasn’t progressing anywhere near as fast as it should have been. So, we got the whole team into a room and went back to first principles. We identified what they were trying to achieve, why, what that look like, timescales, resources, how they would know if they had been successful, and so on. Every question led to another question, and it became clear that the project was far more complex than any of them had realised.
By lunchtime we joked that we had just spent the morning “peeling onions”, but at least by doing this we had identified everything that needed to be addressed.
I felt terrible. I was supposed to go in there and make their life easier. Instead I had shown them how complex, difficult, and time-consuming their challenge would be. But once the reality had sank in, everyone felt much more positive. Yes the challenge was difficult; yes it is complex; but at least it is now known. And we can deal with what is known. Little by little, piece by piece, we can tackle it and do what needs to be done…and almost all will be done by the internal team.
Sometimes that’s the value that an external consultant can bring. People who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the business sometimes find it hard to see the wood for the trees; they can work incredibly hard and keep going round in circles. As an external consultant, I have realised that to truly add value to clients, I don’t necessarily have to produce documents for them. I can provide clarity, simplicity, and direction.
That is why Keystone Development has widened its remit, and is proud to offer pure consultancy, and creative strategic planning facilitation as part of our services. One of our associates Pauline Doyle is an expert at facilitating this type of session, and we recently worked together to help a client to define its’ L&D strategy for next year. So, if you need help to see the wood for the trees, or to peel your onions so that you can achieve an important goal, then contact us. We’d be delighted to help.