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How To Position Yourself as a Peer (and Stay Out of the Dreaded "Pair-Of-Hands" Trap)

 

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...

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5 Effective Content Marketing Tips for Consultants

 

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...

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How to Diagnose Performance Challenges

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...

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Client Have Strategy Problems? Here's How to Help Them.

 

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.

  • A well-grounded strategy that is also articulated but not used as a decision-making filter is inconsequential. These are strategies or, better yet, strategic intentions that make good wall hangings in the employee break rooms. Inspirational...
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Indicators That Your Clients Need Organization Redesign

 

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:

  • Aligns with broader organization: The organization strategy brings together the business and people strategies so that what the organization wants to deliver on…it can deliver on. Sub-units also connect with the rest of the broader organization.
  • Facilitates effective workflow: Processes for creating and delivering products/services to customers/clients are maximized.
  • Enhances partnership and synergy: Work is linked horizontally across departmental and geographic boundaries (which is especially important in today’s global world).
  • Enables individual performance: Employees at every level are empowered and motivated to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Another way to think about an...

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What Steps Are Involved In An Organization (Re) Design

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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Systems Thinking for Consultants

I have two children. When they were small, they used to go to daycare. What this meant in practicality to me was: two kids + daycare = many fevers and visits to the doctor’s office. As the parent, I was able detect and even treat the fever. However, in order to get rid of the fever, I had to rely on my doctor to discern whether the fever was caused by a bacteria or a virus and, if so, what part of the body the bacteria or virus was infecting. Then the doctor, using her knowledge of how the body functions, was able to prescribe the solution to dealing with the root cause of the fever.

You may be thinking right now, “What does this have to do with consulting?” Well, the difference between a parent and a doctor is the doctor is better able to understand the human body as a system, as well as better able to discern root causes of illnesses and to prescribe long-term cures for those illnesses. Similarly, the difference between a good consultant and a great consultant is...

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Organization Development 101

A FAMILIAR CASE STUDY

Tim, a seasoned leader in his hospitality/entertainment company, finally made the leap from general manager to vice president of the flagship theme park of his company. As he assumed his duties, he realized there were several major challenges in front of him:

    • How can he keep his “product” fresh and new while maintaining the company’s heritage and traditions?
    • How can he re-engage his employees and make them feel special?
    • How can he break down the silos among the various departments so they can work together more effectively and creatively?

Like the great operator and manager that he is, Tim began a series of initiatives to help rectify the problems. He began a program called “Employee First Community,” which was conceived to make employees feel special by having a logo designed and placed on many internal communication tools and recognition gifts such as briefcases. In addition, he set up a series of meetings for the leaders of...

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Tips for Managing Resistance

It was time for my young daughters to learn how to ride a bike. My older daughter, Hannah, was clearly uncomfortable and afraid. She challenged me STRAIGHT ON. When I asked for her to get on the bike, she clearly and directly said no. She pitched a fit, engaged in a full one temper tantrum and ran back into the house. My younger daughter Ainsley, while equally afraid, chose a different tactic. She faked sick. She asked me to explain over and over again what she was to do before she would even get on the bike. Both children dealt with fears of loss of control and vulnerability. One was resistant, the other was not. And the resistant one wasn’t Hannah. It was Ainsley.

As consultants, we encounter resistance all the time. We propose a change, give difficult feedback and suggest alternatives to transform business processes to clients who will do one of three things:

    • Option 1 - Accept our recommendations and partner with us to transform suggestions into reality.
    • Option...
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Why Every Executive Needs a Sounding Board

As consultants, we struggle with determining new ways we can add client value. We wrack our brains for breakthrough products and services or new content and resources to engage our clients. However, we are missing the one thing that we do that adds the most value which is when we serve our clients simply as sounding board.

All senior executives have a ton on their plates and on minds...and not a lot of people that they can talk to that do not have an agenda or expectations for them to be in perfect control all times. But when we, as consultant,s offer our think partnership to them, we provide a SAFE PLACE to help them sift through clutter and chaos to more quickly set to clarity in terms of both thoughts and desired action, so that results they seek can be accelerated and realized. 

When we act as an executive sounding board we provide significant benefits:

Common Vantage Point:

In contrast to client's direct reports and peers, we can see the world from THEIR point...

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