Strategy consulting work seems to have dried up for our firm, as well as for many colleagues. Should we develop other practice areas?
The principles of management have not changed, nor have the needs of organizations for consulting services - in the long run. However, the nature and timing of what is most important in their need for advisory services does change over the short term. In challenging economic times, cost management and revenue growth rise to the top of the needs list. When new legislation is passed in a market, legal advice is needed. When the future is unclear and even survival is uncertain, many managers dial back on grand strategy development in favor of activities that will get them through the next quarter.
Strategy formation has already started to return as a legitimate and needed service. The recent Management Consulting Recruitment Channel Report 2010
by Top-Consultant says, "Strategy consulting, often the quickest to be hit in a downturn, can also be amongst the last to recover during an upturn. In many respects it’s the most discretionary type of consulting spend there is – and this has spillover effects on the hiring trends within strategy consulting. Given this, it is therefore heartening for the industry as a whole to see a general consensus that strategy consulting hiring will gather pace this year – one of the strongest indicators that as an industry we perceive the worst to be very much behind us." Tip:
Consulting services ebb and flow with client needs so, like your investment portfolio, consider offering a portfolio of countercyclical advisory services that serve your industry in lean and rich times. Your clients are (should) not just be clients when they need a specific service. They, and you, are better off if you can provide a continuum of services that are available when they need them.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA