Clients usually ask consultants to spend much of our time improving people, processes and technology inside an organization. Are there ways we can complement the value in these areas with an external focus?
Other than bringing in other consultants with different (or better) skills, there is one good way that is effective and long-lasting. The kind of improvements you mentioned can benefit from external input in needs definition, design, implementation and, sustainability. To do this, you should consider how to connect your client with others with an interest in the client's success. This may be by geography, industry (even a competitor, under the right circumstances, might help), common customers, supporting industry (e.g., a vendor, supplier or channel partner), government or nonprofits, or customers themselves.
Your goal is to find key influencers that can complement your services or to supplement them in areas of need for the client but on which you are not working. This building of a network may not exactly be in your engagement scope but it is a benefit to both you and your client. Both you and your client benefit by making new contacts and gaining insight. Remember to get your client's permission to cast about for valuable influencers on their behalf.Tip:
Your collection of influencers could be contributed to your client as a formal advisory body, potential managers or staff, or just as informal community members to provide feedback. As you build your own network of influencers through this process, you will have an increasing depth of individuals and institutions on whom you can draw to bring to the table on your clients' behalf. Remember, it's not just what you know (about improving people, process and technology) but who you know (that you can introduce your client to).© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA