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#967: The Need for Innovation From Management Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, January 19, 2009
Updated: Monday, January 19, 2009

With the economy in rough shape, clients are focused on the traditional, basic, and core aspects of business. These are usually cost cutting, process streamlining, and top line growth. If these are not my areas of expertise, how best can I use my consulting skills?

These "core skills" you describe are always in demand, but this does not mean that they are the only ones needed by public and private sector organizations. By working harder to make more and spend less money, organizations can survive flat markets. But these are not just flat economic times. Businesses need to create value, not just squeeze more out of current accounts and operations.

This calls for innovation in technology, finance and management. It is this last area in which management consultants can provide significant value. Consider your wealth of experience in a range of settings and put your ingenuity and expertise to work to create new approaches to the new problems facing your client.

Regardless of your area of expertise, the current environment is unlike any faced by our consulting colleagues in their lifetime. Neither you or your client has any experience that wouldn't benefit from innovative approaches to emerging challenges they face.

Tip: Sit down with your client to discuss the need for new approaches. For example, if tight credit is a dominant challenge, think about how to partner with your suppliers to spread risk and manage cash flow. If talent management is the issue, maybe consider working with new outplacement firms or suggest some of your consulting colleagues willing to serve in interim roles. Do more than just bring your experience, create some new experience.

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