Management and Business Consulting

The Origin of Management Consulting

Management Consulting, one of the most dynamic and exciting industries to be in today, is also one of the world’s oldest professions. Its origins can be traced back over six thousand years to the time of Moses and the exodus from Egypt.

According to scriptural records (NIV, Exodus, Chapter 18, verse 13-26), Jethro, the priest of Midian, who was also Moses’s father-in-law, advised Moses how to manage his time and become more productive. While visiting Moses in the desert, he spent a day observing Moses at work, hearing disputes and passing judgment. He saw Moses working from morning to night listening to people, resolving disputes and teaching people God’s laws. While he did so, people stood around waiting their turn.

Jethro observed that what Moses was doing was not right, and his heavy workload was wearing him out. At the end of the day, he asked Moses why he alone sat as judge, while all the people stood around waiting from morning till night. On hearing Moses’s answer Jethro offered some advice.

Jethro’s advice

He suggested that Moses select capable men from all the people, men who are trustworthy and honest. These men are appointed as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Their job is to serve as judges, and they are empowered to decide simple cases, only referring more complex and difficult cases to Moses. In this way Moses can focus on matters that really count; his role is to be the final arbiter, teacher of laws and decrees, and leader by example.

This is possibly the first recorded example of management consulting advice regarding managing time effectively, appointing competent people, delegating authority, assigning accountability, and structuring an organization.

The Need for Consultants

The need for consultants and good consulting advice has grown considerably over the years, and has become even more important. Today, the consulting industry is a multi-billion dollar business. While the industry is dominated by big consulting firms, small firms and independent self-employed consultants continue to play a very important role.

My Management Consulting Approach

By  applying a holistic, systems approach to consulting based on the Balanced Scorecard strategic management framework, I help organisations develop a clear line of sight from their organisational purpose right through to their final customer.

The Balanced Scorecard developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton provides a framework for analyzing any organisation. The model looks at strategy from four different perspectives: Financial, Customer, Internal Processes, and People and Systems. For the organisation to operate at optimal performance, all four perspectives must work together an an integrated and interdependent system. As a result, my consulting approach addresses all four perspectives of the BSC framework.

Using value mapping at each stage of the process, we are able to identify where value is added and where it is taken away. I also use an issue-based consulting approach to identify root cause of business problems and develop solutions that work.

My mission is to deliver sustainable results through sharing knowledge, building competency and implementing good business practice.

Management Consulting Services

Because of my thorough understanding of the whole business value chain, I am able to offer the following consulting services and products:

  • Defining organisation’s purpose or Reason for Being.
  • Reviewing and revising vision, mission and values.
  • Scenario Planning
  • Developing strategy using the Balanced Scorecard framework
  • Developing strategic goals and objectives.
  • Strategy mapping – developing a strategy map on one page
  • Implementing strategy through projects.

    Defining Organisational Purpose

    Every organisation needs to have a clear organisational purpose statement. One that all stakeholders can understand and resonate with. An organisation must have a reason for being. I work with executives and senior management teams to identify the organisation’s real reason for being; its primary purpose. Together, we craft a meaningful purpose statement; one that will guide employee behaviour and engagement. Research has shown that employees who are motivated and engaged, are aligned with the organisation’s purpose and who believe they are doing a meaningful job.

    Your organisation’s reason for being statement acts as a ‘north star’ for all everyone working in the organisation, regardless of position.

    Everything flows from the Organisation Purpose statement – your vision, mission, strategy, and even the high-level design of your organisation.

    Read my blog post: Your Reason For Being: Understanding Your Organisation’s Purpose

    Scenario Planning

    Scenario planning is a process of making assumptions on what the future is going to be and how that future may impact on your business and its environment. The objective of scenario planning is to remove as much uncertainty as possible from your decision making. Scenario planning is a very useful tool and should precede any strategic planning exercise. But, it is not normally done in small and medium companies because it is perceived to be very complex and time-consuming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I use the Illbury-Sunter four-quadrant scenario planning model because of its simplicity and effectiveness. We start off by identifying the ‘rules of the game’ These rules are specific to each industry. Next we identify the key uncertainties your company or organisation is likely to face. Then we craft scenarios based on each key uncertainty. We will typically craft three scenarios; the best case, worst case, and most probable case. After crafting the scenarios, we analyse them and develop a number of options for each. Finally, after analysing the options, we choose the best option. In this way we move from uncertainty and absence of control through to certainty and control.

    Scenario planning provides the input into the strategic planning process that follows.

    Check out my blog: Future-Proof Your Business Through Scenario Planning

    Strategic Planning

    We live in a world of constant change where nothing can be taken for granted. If you want to be successful and to stay on top of your game, you must be prepared to learn. To be adaptable, and to take the right actions as and when necessary. Having the right strategy is an important step. This is where  I can help.

    I help facilitate strategy development workshops, either in-person or on-line. During these workshops we define your reason for being and organisational purpose, vision, mission and governing principles; your values.

    Combining agile strategic planning methodologies with traditional strategic planning techniques, and the Balanced Scorecard strategic management system, ensures we identify meaningful strategic objectives. We link strategic objectives to four key perspectives: Stakeholders’, Customers, Internal Processes and People and Systems. This  results in developing appropriate strategies for the situation.

    One of the key things I focus on when facilitating strategy planning workshops is to get executive accountability for each strategic objective. No accountability will mean no action.

    Financial Perspective

    The financial perspective deals with what the shareholders expect from the organisation. Shareholders basically want to receive an adequate return on their investments, and they expect the organisation to make a profit. There are two key elements to every strategy: the first is to make money (generate revenue), and the second is to improve productivity (reduce costs). In this perspective we address both elements. We answer the question “To succeed financially, how should we appear to our shareholders?” We set objectives and develop strategies for:

    • Generating revenue.
    • Improving productivity (reducing costs).
    • Mapping and analyzing the organisation’s value chain.
    • Managing cash flows, and cash flow forecasting.

    Customer Perspective

    This perspective addresses who your customers are and what they want from the organisation in terms of products or services. Here we define the customer value proposition, and answer the question: “To achieve our purpose and vision, how should we appear to our customers?” We set objectives and develop strategies for:

    • Marketing and sales.
    • Improving customer service.
    • Optimizing the organisation’s supply chain.

    Internal Process Perspective

    In this perspective we look at the processes that create and deliver the products and services demanded by customers. We answer the question: “To satisfy our shareholders and customers, what business processes must we excel at?” We set objectives and develop action plans for:

    • Continually improving operations and processes using Kaizen and Six Sigma.
    • Mapping processes.
    • Solving problems by analyzing root causes.
    • Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure performance.

    People and Systems (Learning and Development)

    This perspective addresses people, competencies and systems. It is the foundation on which the organisation is built. Here we answer the question: “To achieve our purpose and vision how will we sustain our ability to grow, change and improve?” We set objectives and action plans for:

    • Cascading strategy using Personal Balanced Scorecards (PBSC).
    • Developing Individual Development Plans (IDP).
    • Assessing Competency.
    • Developing core and job specific competencies.
    • Improving performance through performance management systems.
    • Evaluating training effectiveness using the Kirkpatrick four-level model.
    • Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) of training.
    • Calculating and improving individual productivity.
    • Understanding individual behaviour using the DISC behavioural profiling system.

    Mapping Strategy

    Using the Kaplan and Norton Balanced Scorecard strategic planning framework as a guide, we map strategic objectives to four key perspectives. Typically these perspectives are: financial, customer, internal processes, and people, but we can tailor the names to your own organisation requirements. This plan on one page is an ideal tool  for communicating your strategic objectives to the people who matter the most. Your employees. They are the ones who will be doing the work of implementing your strategy. They must be aligned and engaged.

     

    Implementing Strategy

    Developing strategy is one thing; implementing it is something completely different. A survey by management consulting firm Booze and Hamilton, found that 90% of companies had a formalized strategic planning process. However, approximately 50% of companies had trouble implementing their strategic plans because they didn’t have a formal execution process in place. There has to be a clear focus and determination to translate strategic objectives into workable projects. Without personal accountability, nothing will happen.

    Strategy is implemented through projects, and these projects must be cascaded and aligned throughout the organisation.

     

    Contact Me

    Contact me at info@dsrconsulting.co.za for a discussion on how I can help you with developing or reviewing your business strategy and help you future-proof your business.