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So, What is management consultancy?
Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice (Harvard University; Harvard Business Review, 2013)

Many successful companies find themselves at a point where existing processes and practices aren’t yielding the same results as before. Made up of bright and motivated people, these businesses are aggressively scaling up or are dissatisfied with their current profitability.
If you are working through challenges like these, get in touch!

What I do?

I have a proven record in the field as former agency working in the ceramic industry with wholesalers, retailers and DIY organizations in Europe, Canada & USA. I’m specialized and experience professional in:
• Merchandising for wholesalers (Europe) and manufacturers.
• Application developments “Professional Retail Interactive Digital Signage systems” (Europe, Canada)
• Reorganization & Redynamisation in merchandising and retail (ceramics industry)
• Business merchandising analysis (DIY)
• Implementation creative business models like E-Business and E-Commerce models (wholesalers)
• Strategy product development (wholesalers)
• Channel Strategy: set-up of merchandising distribution chain (manufacturers)

NETWORK
• Networks in Europe, Nothern America and Eastern Countries
• Negotiations at level: international manufacturers & wholesalers-retailers (ceramic industry)

 

So, What is consultancy, how do you see it??
Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice!

A few pieces of my work, as well as a number of conversations has led me to think about management consultancy and what it means to people and companies. Especially working in the ceramic industry as an agent for several manufacturers in Europe led me to some questions asked by wholesalers, retailers working in this industry. I noted that more or less it always comes to the same area (data,  marketing, management)

Consultancy to me as a human, and to my business , means the following: (thanks to DTL for clearing and helping with underneath text and open insight)

At the root of it all must be trust, if you buy something from someone, the basis of this is trust. You trust that your car works, you trust that your dishwasher will give you clean dishes, you trust the chef cooking your dinner to do it safely and to a taste that impresses. When you buy some consultancy services you trust that the person will deliver, but how well they will deliver can be a lottery. So, I have set aside a set of  a few guiding principles that I believe work well for me, and will be the bedrock that my company or me as a person will operate under. They are:

 

Trust

  1. Trust

As I say above, trust is important. Without this you can’t even begin. How many times have you heard someone say people buy from people. This is a common saying, and there is a reason for that. It’s true. Trust begins at the very moment you meet someone for the first time and it has to be built upon as relationships grow. When you look someone in the eye, you can say to yourself, they sound like and even look like I can trust them. It is true….first impressions count, but it needs to be worked on.

Integrity

  1. Integrity

Integrity is something that is seen as lacking in consultants. ‘Greedy sods, they don’t care about us, just themselves, their wallets and their expensive cars’. I’ve heard this mentioned before when I have been buying consultancy. I don’t ever judge on what someone drives, but what they say and how they say it. I need to believe in them. And as far as my company is concerned I need to believe in myself delivering the best I can do and turn that in to results for the client and satisfaction for myself. That is what I believe is the definition of integrity. I will not do a job I don’t believe I can do well.

Honesty

  1. Honesty

I will give an example for this one. It’s kind of linked to integrity, but it’s more about saying how you see it, but in a professional and courteous manner. I recently worked with a company who were implementing some business strategy. They wanted to do it because everyone else seemed to be doing it. What they had not thought of was working out if indeed everyone else was actually doing it, or was it just a perception. I found out it was just a perception and at the detriment of not getting the business honestly told them they did not need it. They thanked me, and could as a result invest in other areas that made better business sense.

Open

  1. Open

Be open, letting people see how you work, how you do it, and why you do it. Nothing is more off putting when someone asks a consultant how they can do this or that, and the response is ‘I have a process, trust me’. Err, no, I won’t trust you because it looks like you are hiding something.

Do it to them as you would do it yourself

  1. Do it to them as you would do it yourself.

This is something I do a lot. I constantly ask myself that if I were in the clients shoes would I do it like I am proposing. The answer is obvious, yes, I would, but its always an important reality check.

Clarity

  1. Clarity

Nothing frustrates more than ambiguity. If a client or partner does not understand it, explain it. It is always possible, especially if you are good at what you do, to explain it in a way that everyone can understand. This is an area that gets abused more often than not. I insist there is no smoke and mirrors with my company. I get frustrated and it lacks a good deal of the above principles if consultants try and cover up something with jargon or bull.

Don’t be prescriptive

  1. Don’t be prescriptive

There is absolutely no need to be prescriptive and do what is necessarily expected out of the box. For large consultancies it is important for them to develop engagement and delivery methodologies. In other words, they do not have the ability due to scale to be flexible. Some say they can. They can’t!

Fun

  1. Have fun.

I try my best to have a good relationship with clients in that you can have fun, have a laugh and get though the hard work with a smile. I know, touchy feely, but it does work. Promise.

Inspire

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Inspire

The best consultants can inspire and push clients to be more. Inspiration is not the same as motivation. Inspiration is about making people believe that the difficult things can be overcome, that the challenges are not as daunting as they first seem and that as a team things can get done for the better. Great leaders have inspiration in their blood and when true inspiration comes from a consultant the results can be impressive.

 

 

Creative

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Get creative

DTL Creative company in the UK named his  business creative as I believe more than anything, that even in business, and even in such areas as strategy, change and systems you can still be creative. It links to not being prescriptive, but at the same time allows great results of you can free people and companies from the shackles of ‘but we have always done it this way”. My answer to anyone who prefers the status quo, and ‘we need to do it this way as that’s always the way we have done it’, is this:

Why?
I believe sometimes consultants get a bad rap….and sometimes it’s deserved. Get the above right and respect will follow.

 

Many years of experience has provided me with some very useful insight. I have taken this experience and insight and made it the fundamentals of my company, believing it makes the difference to properly engaging and also to be engaging as a consultant.

 

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How can I help?

Many successful companies find themselves at a point where existing processes and practices aren’t yielding the same results as before. Made up of bright and motivated people, these businesses are aggressively scaling up or are dissatisfied with their current profitability.
If you are working through challenges like these, maybe we should meet…

 

Jim

 

 

 

Links:
dtl-creative.co.uk Thanks to DTL for this and his open insight in this document
hbr.org Consulting Is More Than Giving Advice (Harvard University; Harvard Business Review