When I met with three aspiring consultants who are very passionate about parlaying their experience to help companies create healthy work environments and engaged employees. They almost fell out their chairs when I told them that I am starting to see that employee engagement is actually unethical.
What I DON'T mean when I say this is that companies should not strive to have work environments free from unethical business practices and abusive and inconsiderate leaders who make their employees lives miserable. Providing safe work conditions, equitable pay and reasonable management should be considered “cover charges” for the privilege of hiring others to work for you.
What I think might be bordering on unethical is how organizations have shifted from employee satisfaction to employee engagement and how engagement goals might completely jack up our limbic systems. Let me explain.
Back in the early 2000’s, instead of measuring employee satisfaction (which is to...
Too many consultants tank their success because they do not clearly understand the difference between consulting vs. leading.
Consulting is a defined role that is distinct from leadership. A consultant is one who helps a leader by framing the problems that the leader is accountable for solving. Consultants frame the challenges and help provide a roadmap for the resolution of challenges. Leaders oversee the implementation of solutions and ensure sustainability.
The first key of being an effective consultant is learning how to position your expertise in a way that enhances leadership and organizational capacity. When you don't fully appreciate the value you create as a consultant (and how you should be positioned) you inevitable fall into the "pair of hands trap" (where you simply offer and deliver what a client asks of your) or the "surrogate leadership trap" (where you do the leader's work for them.)
When you know the differences between leading and consulting, you will be...
Your marketing efforts have paid off. All of your activities on social media and doing speeches worked. You created a proposal, negotiated and renegotiated with your client and the deal is done.
And now you’re wondering what to do now.
Just like your clients have processes in place to ensure consistently high customer service, you have to do the same. This consulting process is what I call the “Consulting Engagement Cycle.” It is not an exact formula you need to follow but a guideline that helps you ensure that you can deliver excellence every time, with every client.
There are 5 steps in the Consulting Engagement Cycle:
Step 1: Establish Winning Partnerships
Sales is not what you get through in order to get to the work. It is actually the first step in your consulting delivery. During contracting, you and your client come to an agreement on the business objectives at hand and how the two of you will partner together to achieve those objectives. This phase of the...
Got a conflict-avoidant client and not sure how to help them? I want to give you some message points to help them understand why holding their employees accountable is in everyone's best interest and some ideas on how to equip them to more effective.
Holding people accountable for results is about providing the conditions for an employee to freely choose whether to meet or exceed expectations and experience the resulting consequences (positive or negative) of their choices. It is not about communicating blame, frustration and/or disappointment in a monthly meeting or performance review.
A leader who holds his or her employees accountable is treating these individuals as self-directed, empowered responsible adults.
Other benefits of increasing the accountability in others include:
Forging a strong client relationship is not a matter of chance. It is the result of choice and whether or not the consultant has taken charge of the positioning process. Unlike other roles in an organization, consultants hold no formal position on the organization chart. It is up to the consultant to carve out the position. If consultants do not take charge of the positioning process, it will be done for them by their clients which may cause them to fall into one of two traps.
The first trap is what I would call the Surrogate Leadership Trap. Consulting is not the same as leading, which can be seen in the visual above.
Many consultants by virtue of their natural leadership abilities or past executive experience are invited to play a role that involves more than simply giving expert advice or recommendations but rather step into the role that the client is supposed to be playing. And if the consultant has been a leader in the past, this is a huge temptation.
Trying to lead...
Content marketing is not some marketing fad.
It’s simply the smartest way of finding and connecting with your ideal client, establishing your credibility, increasing your number of discovery meetings and close rates as well as giving you the platform to increasing your fees.
Content marketing is essential for consultants because we are in the knowledge business. We don't sell a tangible product or service. Our value add contribution lies in our heads and hearts and content is the best way to manifest this expertise in a way that connects with our future strategic partners.
If you're not implementing a content marketing strategy, you are leaving money (and credibility) on the table.
If content doesn't come easily to you or you're not sure how to get started, let me give you a few pointers.
First, be clear on who your ideal client is and what is their pain points. It all starts here. If you are unsure who you want to serve, your marketing messages and...
Here's the thing: If you are a consultant (internal or external) at some point you'll be asked to design and deliver a training experience.
It's not that there's anything wrong with training because sometimes lack of knowledge and skills is the root cause to performance challenges. And when it is...you can truly add client value and deliver a powerful ROI.
But if lack of knowledge and skills is not the culprit behind performance challenges, you may be paid well BUT I hate to break it to you (and your client) that what you offer won't create any lasting value for your client...or for your business.
The impact for your client is hopefully obvious. They spend money on a solution that will not likely resolve their challenges.
However, there is a massive impact to you and your business that you may not be aware of. If you say "yes" to a training request without trying to help you client identify their REAL performance gaps and the pinpoint the REAL causes to...
When your clients start complaining the right and left hands don't know that they are doing and they can't prioritize or focus - they are likely to have a strategy problem.
But the question is what kind?
Strategy is more than a game plan for winning. It ultimately is lived out in the tough daily decisions and tradeoffs that everyone in the organization is making. Strategic intentions are realized or not realized NOT in a strategy retreat BUT in the trenches on a daily basis when decisions are made on head count, resourcing, product offerings, service standards, etc.
Effective strategy has three major components: It is well-grounded, articulated and used as a decision-making filter for leaders and employees throughout the organization.
An effective organization design is a lot more than what you might find on an org chart. It is the way in which an organization coordinates activities towards product and service quality and delivery effectiveness and efficiency.
FOUR INDICATORS OF EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION DESIGN:
Another way to think about an...
One of the most strategic and transformative consulting projects you can offer your clients is organization redesign. Not only does organization design enable you to help your clients optimize their business performance and reshape their culture but also it positions you to land a six-figure consulting contract.
To get you started, let me share with you an overview of how to go about delivering an organization redesign project. First, there are four phases: determine design direction, develop the design, plan the implementation, and implement and evaluate.
Second, as you guide your clients through each phase, they need to address both hardware-related issues (e.g., processes, reporting relationships, spans of control, etc.) and software-related issues (e.g., leader and employee behavior and performance patterns) You, as a consultant, add value by helping them address both simultaneously.
Third, the following are some suggestions of what you can offer your...
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