In its simplest form of the process of management consulting involves undertaking an analysis of the current state of an organization; definition of a desired future state and the formulation of strategies and plans to enable the organization to change to achieve the desired future state.
External consultants are engaged by clients for a range of reasons including:
- To benefit from specialist knowledge and experience that may not be available within the organization
- To gain an objective and independent opinion on a situation or challenge; it is sometimes the case that the management team within an organization is too close to the problem and a fresh pair of eyes can be of benefit
- Extra resource: external management consultant resource can provide a flexible, high calibre solution to enable a project to be planned and executed whilst avoiding the need to recruit permanent staff
Management consultants commonly work across a number of different sectors and client organizations. Consequently, external consultants are able to bring a perspective on what has worked well elsewhere including providing insights on industry best practice.
A team of consultants will typically be deployed to a client comprised of individuals with complimentary skills to enable a challenge or project to be tackled effectively and rapidly. Core skill sets within a consulting team will often include:
- Robust and comprehensive business analysis skills
- Portfolio, programme and project planning and management skills
- Advanced stakeholder management and communication approaches
- Risk management expertise enabling change to be effected in a controlled and safe manner
- Proven consulting methodologies that have been used successfully with other client organizations
Prior to joining a consulting practice, consultants usually will have gained significant experience in their careers either in a particular industry or profession.
There is an active demand from clients to capitalize on this depth of experience; often the client is willing to pay a significant fee over a short period to benefit from the wisdom, insights, experience and sometimes contacts that an experienced management consultant will bring to the table.
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