Consultancy or Interim Management Which?
Delivering change is the staple diet of the Big Four consultancies, but large corporate clients, the traditional back yard market for the big firms, are being disappointed time and time again by an increasing disconnect between the big ticket prices they pay and the relative lack of experience of their consultants.
Weve all seen it at some stage, havent we? An excellent presentation from the Partner. Youre paying big money, and for that youre getting the reassurance that no-one ever got fired for buying whichever global consulting brand youve selected. Good for you. Then the team turn up a few days later
Outstanding people? Yes.
Understand the methodology? Of course.
Great analytical and presentation skills? Unquestionably.
Substantial hands on / been there done that experience? Well not exactly
Have you asked yourself the question:
What will my organisation miss out on, because instead of using specialists who know all there is to know about the subject, Im using young twenty something generalists who may have only down-loaded the methodology from the consulting firms knowledge management servers for the first time over the weekend?
Surely that’s exaggerating just a bit isn’t it?
Well, buy some consultants a few beers one evening, and see what they say.
Dont be surprised to hear how they hadnt met each other until half an hour before they met you, or how on a previous assignment Tarquin was charged out as a Managing Consultant at least six months before his promotion to that grade was finally approved; or how Celine, was sold as an expert on a subject that she hadnt got any experience in, just because no-one else was available.
But not only that; how many big consultancy firms still wont take full responsibility for implementing their recommendations?
How do they put it:…Of course well support you throughout the implementation process, but ultimately its vital that your people own the solution?
Fair point you might say, but after rounds and rounds of corporate downsizing, there are some of us who, after all the analysis has been done, just need a few extra pair of hands to bring the benefits home, without the fuss. Why cant they Just do it as the saying goes?
Well if those scenarios dont sound entirely unfamiliar, have you considered interim management as an alternative?
Its a change management approach which relies on bringing in senior executive interim managers who are sensibly over-qualified for doing exactly what you want done. They don’t need to rely on the reputation of a big consulting brand, only the credibility of their own track-record; quite simply because theyve actually been there and done that before. And that’s the trick: finding a good service provider (they don’t like to be called agencies) who knows the specialist interim manager you want. When you’ve found them, they love nothing more than to implement the solution and hand you the savings. And with those few extra grey hairs comes just a little bit more tact and diplomacy than you might expect from a twenty something consultant from one of the big firms.
Not surprisingly because of the successes that interim managers are consistently delivering, more and more corporates are looking long and hard at the consulting budgets that they would have spent with the big firms. Teams of interim managers are even beating the big firms to large scale change programmes. Rightly so. Interim management is not only a high expertise / low risk way to deliver results, it’s typically only half as expensive as consultancy.