Eliga Services offers a fresh perspective to the age-old question of why companies should hire a business consultant.
Consulting starts with a ‘possibilities’ mindset. A great business consultant works with clients, understanding their strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest challenges leaders face isn’t tech. You might think that legacy tech presents a significant obstacle to success, but this isn’t the case. Yes, it presents a significant piece of work from a technical perspective. However, it’s changing culture and mindsets that present the biggest obstacle (and opportunity) for any company.
As a result, a good business consultant will do what’s right for the user, not always what’s easiest. He or she will explore how to break down some of the barriers between business and technology. This not only creates value but also provides the best experience for end-users.
Here are 4 signs your company should consider hiring a business consultant:
1. Stakeholders struggle to embrace change
Leaders often insist on doing things their way. Why alter a system that’s working? Even when presented with a solution that may help teams achieve a goal more quickly, many stakeholders struggle to embrace new ways of working. Psychology has a term for this, ‘cognitive bias.’
No matter how much leaders rely on logic and consistently question perspectives, they will exhibit a cognitive bias at some point. Consequently, a good business consultant will challenge established ways of working. This helps the company improve its operations and strategy. The consultant will typically conduct a Business Capability assessment and a Future Capability assessment to highlight areas for improvement.
2. Your teams operate under assumptions
Whilst some biases might be easier to spot than others, these biases affect our thinking and ways of working, making us resistant to change. Here are some signs that your teams or leaders may be influenced by a particular type of cognitive bias:
- Only citing information, data or news that confirms your organisation’s ideas, views, or opinions
- Blaming external factors when the strategy doesn’t go as planned
- Attributing other teams’ or competitors’ success to timing or luck
- Assuming the Voice of the Customer (VOC) based on anecdotal insights or silo processes
- Not undertaking effective customer insight research
According to Psychology Today, cognitive biases result in many of us ‘clinging to a belief system even when we are presented with a more efficient solution.’ A seasoned business consultant will bring fresh perspectives and facilitate more transparent and efficient ways of working.
3. Inefficient operations
Did you know that some primates are better than humans at learning shortcuts? A behavioural study from Georgia State University found that the monkeys were ‘significantly more likely to adopt new and more efficient shortcuts to attain goals than humans.’ It’s a literal case of monkey see, monkey do. Whilst this is a complex field of study and more research is required, the study’s results suggest that a ‘lower working memory load may facilitate initial habitual strategy use to some extent.’ This is shown in the monkeys’ application of the switch strategy.
Whilst working memory may explain some of our human behaviour and resistance to learning shortcuts, it does not explain the nuances of corporate decision-making. Nonetheless, it teaches us that our inflexibility, especially when compared to other species, may be an important aspect of the human condition.
A business consultant addresses inefficient operations by implementing solutions and championing new systems and ways of working. In this sense, the consultant acts as a cheerleader, encouraging teams to adopt new, agile solutions to boost operations and performance.
4. You don’t maximise your opportunities
Whist we may strive for perfection, too often it’s not realistic or obtainable. The agile methodology teaches us to be more flexible with our thinking and strategy, learning and pivoting to maximise opportunities in the timeliest manner possible. Business consultants will identify what needs to be changed during the evaluation phase, working with stakeholders and teams to develop a deep understanding of the company, identifying its strengths and weaknesses and any foreseeable problems on the horizon. These ‘problems’ could be issues that stakeholders have already identified or new issues raised in the discovery process.
A good business consultant will work objectively, helping identify opportunities to grow, increase revenue and operational efficiency. During this discovery phase, it’s worth noting that a business consultant and company should always strive for open, clear communication with constructive feedback.
Questions to ask before you hire a business consultant
Hiring a business consultant can help you improve your output and maintain long-term success in a competitive and shifting landscape. However, before you make the decision to hire, it’s important to look at the firm’s track record. Here are a few questions you might want to consider:
- Does the consultancy company have experience in your industry?
- If so, have they worked with competitors?
- What methodology do they use?
- What are some of their success stories?
There’s a great saying (maybe, you’ve heard it before): Culture eats strategy for lunch. The best partnerships are built on shared values and high levels of transparency and trust. If you care about your customers, you should pick a company that is customer-centric. Perhaps, you want to expand to a new market. If so, the company you partner with must have a strong track record in this market with a near-native grasp of how the market operates.
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