The Holistic Approach to More Effective Consulting
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Holistic Approach to More
Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC
A business is
a complex system. CEOs view the business as a whole, not as individual
functions. This holistic perspective
sets the CEO/owner apart from functional managers and other employees.
watch cash flow while they work on marketing. They must manage resources
profitably and simultaneously satisfy employees, shareholders, suppliers,
government, and the public.
Adopt the CEO’s
providing advice in any functional
area should adopt the CEO’s holistic approach when diagnosing issues. Imagine a
financial consultant who recommends changes in policy with no thought to market
impact or potential employee turnover. Think about the potential insolvency
caused by a marketing consultant who blindly helps generate new business without
considering the increased working capital required!
operations consultant who recommends changing processes or delivery
capabilities without concern for impacts on major accounts or likely
Real world example
client asked me to help develop a marketing program to increase sales. He had
his own ideas including a fancy brochure, direct mail, and advertising.
Here was a
tempting prospect to be sure. Rather than plunge ahead with a plan, I asked to
see current financial reports. Puzzled, the owner produced a report. He
explained that current reports were still not available—a bad sign.
showed reasonable margins but also indicated serious liquidity problems. The
owner admitted that the company was on C.O.D. with suppliers and lenders had
denied any credit line increase. Low inventory turns and slow collections were
soaking up working capital. The company was technically insolvent!
Real world holistic
I advised him that more sales were the last things he needed. Greater sales
would increase the demand for cash. I recommended that we get to work on his
out-of-balance business situation. Marketing plans and growth would have to
perspective helped the owner see his true situation and seek a better solution.
He saw that it was necessary to regain the company’s balance between marketing,
finance, and operations before sustained growth could occur.
same company enjoys three times its previous revenues, along with healthy
profits, utilizing the same facility. Had I taken a solely marketing approach,
the company might have achieved sales growth, while succumbing to financial
significant changes in a holistic
manner. Recommendations should help clients become more profitable and
competitive, or at least stay competitive. You must consider the impact of
recommendations for one function on all of the other functions. Suggest what is
best for the client as a whole. Adopt a holistic
approach to consulting projects. Demonstrate your ability to contribute to the
firm’s progress in a balanced manner. You will gain the CEO’s gratitude and
respect. In some cases, your holistic
perspective may help you avoid making matters worse for your client.
Richard P. Morgan CMC, FIMC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
helps leaders tackle major issues and become better marketers using a holistic
business approach. Dick’s prior experience includes 26 years in corporate
management. He served on the board of IMC USA and now is the chair of PRET. He
is past president of IMC-DFW.