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“Independent Consulting Part 3: What are the fundamental capabilities required to work effectively as an Independent Consultant?”

Posted by Clive on February 1, 2019

This is the 3rd blog in my 4-part series about what Independent Consulting is and what it takes to be successful as an Independent Consultant. In this blog, I am going to cover the fundamental skills required to work effectively as a Consultant

At the heart of any change programme is an understanding of business transformation – and that means the phases that a business or functional area must go through to discover opportunities for improvement, design new ways of working and then plan, implement and embed changes.

Let me briefly say more about some of the consulting capabilities that are important to each of these phases.

So, to discover opportunities for change you will need to be able to draw on a range of diagnostic techniques. Also, being able to develop a business case will help prioritise which initiative or initiatives to focus on.

There are consulting capabilities that will help you work with the client team to design solutions to issues or design new operational methodologies. Knowing how to identify and manage stakeholders will be key to this. As will learning how to identify and manage resistance – believe you me, this is something you are certain to encounter along the way.

Even what might seem like basic stuff can add immense value to clients, such as effective meeting and workshop management – this is bread and butter for a consultant and the good news is clients do it so badly, so your best practice can rub off on them.

When it comes to implementation, there are many ways you can help your client implement effectively; and of course, you will need to be able to track the delivery of the benefits you have identified. 

Then the piece that most clients miss - embedding the change into the organisation. There are tools and techniques that can be used to review how well changes have been embedded and what to do about it.

And finally, you will need to know the fundamentals of project management. You may be managing the project yourself or coaching someone who is.

Hopefully you’re starting now to see the different set of capabilities that a consultant needs as opposed to a business manager.

In the final blog of this series, “Independent Consulting Part 4: Your choices as an Independent”, I will discuss the options you have as an Independent Consultant in terms of where you take your journey from where you are today. 

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