My client wants me to measure the impact of my consulting intervention on her operations. The company is currently so loosely run that I am not sure how I can even measure any impact. How should I respond?
This kind of request has become increasingly common over the past few years as clients are looking for more tangible results from their use of intangible services. They recognize that they evaluate some sort of ROI on other investments they make, so why not something similar on consulting services?
The problem is that many organizations are in no position to measure change because they have no baseline. They don't know, for example, what their investment per employee is across a particular division or marketing costs per client type. Especially for smaller companies, performance data just aren't collected or evaluated this way. What the company looking for performance improvement needs is a baseline.
Before you developed a weight loss plan, you would need to know how much you weighed, how much you wanted to lose and over what time period. Without any one of those metrics, it would be hard to evaluate the effectiveness of any plan. Tip:
Propose to your client that their (or your) first task is to develop baseline measures against which to measure progress. This should be a basic part of their performance management strategy anyway and a key indicator of whether they even need to improve performance. Help them establish a set of performance measures appropriate for their market and industry. Then work with your client to develop a plan to improve specific measures and define what a specific performance improvement is worth to their bottom line. This helps them more clearly identify what they want to accomplish and also establishes the basis for your fees. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA