My client just told me he is going on vacation next week and wants to spend time away from the details of the project and think more broadly about the company. How can I help him do this?
This is a golden opportunity to add value to any engagement. Since our primary job is to execute a project, we tend to dive into the project plan and individual tasks and sometimes lose perspective on the big picture. For the benefit of both ourselves and our client, it would be productive to create the space around where your project fits into the overall company strategy and environment. If your work is on strategy or markets, then go one level higher to national economy, demographics or product markets.
Think about your project and its ultimate intended outcomes. How do you intend the client's organization to differ when your project is complete? Now, what (relatively brief) articles or podcasts can you provide your client to help think more broadly about his or her big picture responsibilities? It could be the introduction to a book on trends in their industry, or an article of interesting research, or profiles of a few newsmakers in their main technology, or a podcast of a panel interview of futurists. Executives barely have time to stay on top of operations, much less step back to find and think about the bigger picture.Tip:
Spend some time thinking about the bigger picture on behalf of your client. Prepare three items: (1) a single article or two that can be consumed in 15 minutes, (2) some podcasts that can be listened to in the car or on a treadmill, and (3) a short book that insightfully addresses emerging trends in the industry or discipline most relevant to the client's success. Make sure you have read and understand whatever you give to your client. The last thing you want is to engage them and then not be conversant in what you gave them. The upside of this is that you will educate yourself and broaden your own perspective about your client's situation. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA