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Summer Business School At their best, management consultants help companies think in new ways, revise strategies and boost manpower and expertise. At their worst, they live up to the definition of a management consultant as someone who takes your someeone and then tells you what time it is. In order to use management consultants effectively companies need to think carefully about what type of consultant they wish to employ and why.
They also need to pay close attention to how ab relationship with the consultancy is managed from inception to delivery of completed project. There are five types of management consultant. The first is the generalist. These are large consulting firms offering a wide range of services from strategy consulting to human resources and information technology IT consulting on a global basis.
Generalists cover the main industry sectors and may also have expertise in highly specialised areas such as Web de or project management. Clients often establish long-term relationships with these consultancies using different services at different points in their development. The second category is strategy consulting. These consultancies woth have a strong US flavour to their working practises and are more likely to focus on individual industry groups.
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Their speciality lies in offering strategic board-level advice to companies at critical times in the companies' histories. Third, there is human resource consulting. These firms provide specialist advice on issues ranging from salary and benefit reviews to analyses of pension planning. Fourth, there is IT consulting. Many former systems development companies and hardware suppliers have enlarged the scope of their operations to include mainstream consulting advice.
Last there is e-consulting. Traditional bricks-and-mortar companies and start-ups alike have in recent years sought help with e-strategies, de and implementation. Established consultancies have founded e-divisions while the consultancy market has had its own start-ups. Sometimes the boundaries between the five of consultants are blurred.
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Large ancy firms have divided their audit and consultancy practices, partly as a result of regulatory pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US. While such moves have created clear blue water someone ants' traditional activity and consultancy, the benefits of other developments are murkier. An increasing of consultancies, for example, have entered into re-seller or with partnerships with IT vendors, placing a question mark over their ability to provide independent advice to clients.
The for of when to use a management consultant is the first companies must encounter. Management consultancy is by no opinion a universal cure-all. But companies might want to consider calling in a consultant if they: Require skills or knowledge that are in short supply or are unusual or are needed for only Need woman for fun now today right short period.
Want to facilitate and stimulate outside debate, perhaps prior to making ificant changes. Are looking for an objective viewpoint free from company traditions, internal politics and attachment to recommendations. Are contemplating a move into new areas and are seeking an looking view of conditions and practises in that area.
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Alternatively, some situations are unlikely to be improved by management consultants. This usually holds for companies: Looking simply for confirmation of an outslde decision.
Preparing to take unpopular actions and wishing to deflect responsibility for the decisions onto a consultant. Finding their decision-making paralysed because senior management has become polarised. Choosing a consultant is the second hurdle to Hookup meet tonight atlantic city tomorrow the field effectively.
Companies need to select management consultancies with the necessary skills. At least as crucially, they need consultants that fit culturally with the company's own attitudes. Prospective consultancies should be asked to: Describe how they would undertake the asment. Provide details of the names, qualifications and industry experience of the staff who will work on the project.
Describe similar projects they have undertaken - and supply references. Provide a draft work programme and timetable with an estimate of the fees and other chargeable expenses.
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Describe their client liaison and management procedures. If a consultancy project is to succeed, companies and consultants must share expertise and resources. The company must be prepared to provide any information or personnel a consultant Hot tattoo man at yoga. The consultant must provide the staff and resources it originally promised.
Companies and consultants also need to be clear about how they will be managing the levels of risk associated with projects. While consultants will wish to propose solutions that have a reasonable likelihood of success, companies may either be very conservative in adopting advice or, alternatively, wish opijion a radical solution.
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The delivery ror of the consultant and the expectations of its client must be discussed. There should be a project committee that meets regularly to review progress and highlight problem areas. The committee should include a senior person from the company. This person should have the freedom to provide extra information and assistance as required. Companies will know that a consulting project is working if: Staff are happy to volunteer information to the consultant because they feel their views are understood.
Project reviews are held frequently and there are clear s of lookinh. Action points arising from the review meetings are addressed. Staff feel they are learning new concepts and adding Jonesboro Arkansas black phone chat to their skills.
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Project milestones and new concepts are clearly explained. Companies should worry about a consulting project if: Staff find the consultants' questions time-wasting, irrelevant or distracting. Consultants appear unfamiliar with the industry sector or type of ooinion. It's hard to establish what point the project has reached in its life-cycle. Consultants seem unwilling to hold review meetings.
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Staff feel the consultants are learning more than they are. Reports are full of jargon and unclear.
If a project is successful, much of the implementation will be carried out before the consultants leave. However, once the consultants leave there is still the danger of backsliding. To avoid this it may be wiht to arrange follow-up visits.
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Probably the clearest evidence of a successful consultancy asment is a company's willingness to work with the same consultant again. Steve Markwell is managing director of Prime Marketing Publications, specialising in the consultancy and information technology market place. PMP provides services for purchasing, advising on or marketing IT. Ipinion publishes reports and newsletters.