Even the most promising ideas which can do wonders if it enters the market can't sell themselves. A business strategy is needed for any business to flourish. Are the entrepreneurs trying to perform better than their competition or bonding with them by allying? These questions can be easily answered by hiring the right people who will provide strategic consulting for the business smartly.
Zhikharevich (2020) suggests that some people operate their businesses without a strategy in place as well. They look at the entire industry in general and see what is the current market situation like and where do they stand as an organization individually and then make choices which suit their business perfectly. This can work in long term as well but if things go haywire, they can be grounded as well. Planning and Strategy help the business to stay afloat and avoids drowning. There are many questions which come up when an organization is run according to Sayed (2018)
If there is a new product launch for an organization, will its competition be able to come up with a new product which is quite similar and is very cheap as well? How can this be prevented?
• Does that firm want to increase its market share or want to concern itself with whatever it has?
• Does the organization want to collaborate with bigger players in the industry who are well established, and do these players see that value addition can be done through them?
• Are developments to be used in future use to the organization?
• All these and many more can be answered by picking the correct strategy at work that suits the organization. There is no universal strategy as such which suits everyone. A start-up as well uses many strategies in its work while it is growing to become one of the major players of the industry as per Wrede (2020)
Von Platen (2016) describes this as the consultant hired by the organization to help the entrepreneur or the business managers choose the right strategy which could make it successful. Strategy consulting can be defined as to figure out where the organization wants to go, how do the entrepreneurs plan to reach that aim and how do the owners know that a particular strategy worked for them or not. Even large and established firms require strategy consultants from outside their arena to guide them. If strategy consultants are hired from outside rather than doing it in house, it can be advantageous in the following ways:
There are all kinds of consultants available who are experts in their particular field ranging from a launch of a new product range in the market to the acquisition of a small but valuable firm etc.
Most often than not, Business Owners get carried away in the excitement of the plans made by them and generally tend to overlook the weak points, the employees mostly keep mum so that they stay in line with their bosses. An opinion from outside can help look at the situation as it is and give a clear picture.
rather than keeping someone full time on the role of the organization makes more sense. For example, According to Van Meeteren (2018), they sometimes fulfill a legal purpose. During the entire exercise of a merger, it is legally not possible to share information between the two parties until the transaction is completed. This is where consultants come in as they operate independently and can source information from both the parties and keep a strategy in place as soon as the deal is completed.
If a particular person is experienced working in any field, that person would be able to land a job in moving from that job to management consulting. For Example as per Kutzner (2020), if this person has worked for many years as a senior manager in the R&D of a compounding unit, that experience gives him/her much needed valuable expertise as a consultant to other similar compounding units in the industry. Alternatively, an undergraduate degree in accounting, business, or science is needed with the right grades and if the college is well reputed and correct, the job is done.
• Some of the skills are also required along with these to be a successful strategic consultant.
• The to-be consultant is good with people as you have to deal with people and sell them your vision and how you would like them to perceive it.
• Networking skills are a must as it is a very competitive field and some recommendations from influential people can carry a lot of value and have a huge impact.
• Quick learning habit is required because, as soon as the consultant enters any new organization, he is required to tackle a big problem right away as that is a job he is hired for.
• Being Flexible is one of the prerequisites in this job as the consultant has to deal with new situations time and again.
• Good time management skills are required as the client's deadlines cannot be missed.
• Analyzing a lot of data should be done quickly to understand the problem in less time and a quick solution is provided to the client. These skills can be assessed in the case study interview, which is almost the standard tool as most of the consulting applications use this.
Just as there is no single universally accepted definition of Strategy Consultancy, there is no one single method. It may be a perception among strategy consultation is a collaborative effort between the consultant and the top management, a huge number of strategy consultation models are present which showcases the different roles consultant dons while sailing through the process. There are two types of strategy consultants based on the type of association they have with the organization and their role will depend according to that. External strategic consultants are consultants that are hired from outside as discussed before and are major experts in their field of work. They bring along with a higher level of objectivity and independence. Internal strategic consultants are existing employees who are more pocket friendly and are more accessible comparatively. Tanui Joel (2018) describes them as having "well developed and refined package solutions".
The orientation of the strategic consultant will affect the strategy they take. The strategies can differ if they are considered as a specialized service and might be different if they are contracted to help with a process. "Expert" consultant would be more focused on the task assigned and will make specific recommendations after the process of consultation. In the case of "process facilitators", it would focus on helping the client to develop their abilities to solve their problems on their own and this may lead to work with the client on a long term basis.
A power imbalance between the client and the strategic consultant always resides. A Client's need to hire a consultant mostly arises under severe un-certainty and anxiety and it is more often than not assumed that the strategic consultant will take the anxiety away by providing a solution to the problem faced by the organization. However, Seidenschnur (2019) suggests that this strategic consulting taking place for the organization is most effective when both (the client as well as the strategic consultant) share the authority for change to take place. Johansson (2020) highlights that while strategic consultants can be incorporated in the execution phase of the procedure "they have no direct authority to decide on changes and implement them".
Seidenschnur (2019) proposed three models of strategic consulting:
•The supplier-purchase model: In this model skilled expertise is bought from the one who possesses it.
• The doctor-patient model: The strategic consultant uses his/her experience and knowledge to find out solutions to the problem client is stuck in.
• The facilitator-peer model: In this model, the strategic model just plays the role of a facilitator as he knows the fact that the clients themselves have some experience and knowledge about the process of strategic consulting.
In the process in which the strategic consultant works, both the parties follow a definitive path that allows the desired outcome for the organization to be reached. Even though it is an unsaid rule that a single process should not be followed for all the problems, a definitive framework should be used as follows:-
Being the first phase, it is the phase for preparation and planning and is very crucial for the entire process as well as the strategic consultant. Seidenschnur (2019) says that this phase will set a strong benchmark as the phases to follow will be highly determined by the standard of the completed work. This phase usually includes objectives that are agreed on, time taken by the entire project phase wise, and the cost which would incur to the firm in executing this. It also includes the discussion and clarification on the various roles and responsibilities that both the parties shall perform.
As the name suggests, this stage involves a thorough diagnosis of the complication that needs to be sorted. The key point in this stage is the bonding between the client and the strategic consultant and how do both of them cooperate. Riedl (2020) refers to this stage as "Mapping" i.e. deciding on the fact that the objective which was set out can be achieved or not.
After a complete strong analysis of the data and providing a proper response to the client, actions can be then be planned and agreed upon. In this phase, many kinds of different solutions are provided to the client. Seidenschnur (2019) suggests that many problems have to be dealt with in this phase of the process if there are unwanted outcomes to the plan like that of lay off etc. In this stage generally, the client wants to fasten the process or is not at all interested to make any changes which may cause problems at the execution level.
The strategic consultant's involvement in the implementation process is very controversial as it entirely depends on what the client wants and the task to be completed at hand. This phase is very important for the relevance and feasibility of the plan that is proposed.
As per Von Platen (2016), many activities are performed in this case which includes the final assessment of the process, final report's production, and any agreements that need to be reworked upon as agreed previously. After completion of all these activities, the project is terminated with the consent of both parties.
The literature suggests a Strategic Consultant should be aware about himself and a continuous process of internalization should take place for him/her. Higher the experience, higher will be the capability to solve tricky situations and problems that arise, as with experience he gains a lot of knowledge dealing in the actual world. Leadership qualities such as taking a problem head-on, open to face new challenges and the transparency the strategic consultant shows through his/her work plays a very important role.
After reviewing the literature, it can be concluded that there are many different kinds of methodologies that can provide a functional and systematic path of work to follow when a strategic consulting assignment is taken. The most suitable and appropriate model will depend majorly on what the client wants and the piece of work to be taken in the future. In general, there is many approaches, an "expert" approach lying on one hand and many others. Many key qualities are required by the person to be an effective strategic consultant.
• Zhikharevich, B.S., and Maracha, V.G., 2020. Strategic Consultant and Client: Interaction Models. Regionalnaya ekonomika. Yug Rossii, pp.75-87.
• Sayed, N., and Lento, C., 2018. Developing a strategy map for environmental consulting firms. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management.
• Wrede, A., 2020. The strategic evaluation of acquisition targets in the technology industry: How management consulting firms outline acquisition strategies for acquirers.
• von Platen, S., 2016. Struggling with new media and old expertise: Reconstructing the professional role of communication consultancy. International journal of strategic communication, 10(5), pp.353-367.
• Van Meeteren, M., and Bassens, D., 2018. Chasing the phantom of a 'global endgame': the role of management consultancy in the narratives of pre-failure ABN AMRO. In Global City Makers. Edward Elgar Publishing.
• Kutzner, I.M., 2020. Social Responsibility of a Small Training and Consulting Enterprise. In CSR in Contemporary Poland (pp. 117-133). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
• Tanui Joel, K., Kilika James, M. and Mugambi George, M., Deployment of Information Technology Capabilities and Competitiveness of Consultancy Firms in Nairobi County, Kenya.
• Seidenschnur, T., and Krücken, G., 2019. Constructing the Consultant as a Legitimate Actor: The Role of Active Clients in Universities. In Agents, Actors, Actorhood: Institutional Perspectives on the Nature of Agency, Action, and Authority. Emerald Publishing Limited.
• Riedl, T.P., Yaeger, T.F., Sorensen, P., and McCusker, B., 2020. Middle Management Experiences with Change: Implications for Consulting. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2020, No. 1, p. 10366). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.
• Johansson, O., and Segerlund, E., 2020. Mergers and Acquisition Strategy in the IT-consulting Industry. A capability perspective on the decision-making process.
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