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Tagged ‘Consulting’


Alex Sortwell

­The 3 Common Mistakes Traditional Consulting Firms Make

The 3 Common Mistakes Traditional Consulting Firms Make


David Maister is widely considered one of the leading authorities on managing professional service firms (such as law, accounting and consulting). He has taught and lectured  at a doctorate in logistics & transportation from Harvard Business School, where he taught and lectured until 1985.  In 2002, he was named one of the top 40 business thinkers in the world and he is the author of six bestselling books.

In his book Managing The Professional Service Firm (Publisher name, 1992), Maister offers practical advice for successfully managing a professional firm and brings to light the alarming realities of mistakes that consulting firms often make.

Although the book was published in 1992, well before the digital technology boom, professional service firms are still making many of the same errors Maister cited 21 years ago.

TrustedPeer now makes it possible for clients to avoid these issues. TrustedPeer’s proprietary online platform system harnesses advances in digital networking to enable client companies to sidestep common issues found in traditional consulting.  It The system allows companies to forego expensive, time-consuming and unpredictable consulting engagements and opt instead for carefully-targeted micro-consulting sessions with top-of-field experts rigorously vetted by TrustedPeer.

Here Below are three of the most common problems recognized by Maister that traditional consulting firms still make.


1.           Traditional Firms “Sell” Instead of “Solve”

 

As Maister states, “Buying professional services is rarely a comfortable experience.” Traditionally, a clients haves to give up some degree of control by putting their company’s’ affairs in the hands of someone else. Conventional consulting firms are often willing to take on the business of any client even if their knowledge of the client’s industry is severely limited. Firms provide clients with partners who are focused on personal incentives from the firm instead of solving the client’s issue.

Maister outlines the mindset of a potential client considering procuring professional services.

“I’m skeptical. I’ve been burned before by these kinds of people. I get a lot of promises: How do I know whose promise I should buy? I’m concerned that you either can’t or won’t take the time to understand what makes my situation special. In short, will you deal with me the way in the way I want to be dealt with?”

TrustedPeer goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure clients consult with Experts who have decades of experience solving problems in their industry and can deliver on client needs and expectations quickly. Each TrustedPeer Expert’s profile – detailing quantifiable and recognizable credentials and accomplishments – is only a starting point. Each expert also produces deep and robust content exploring common problems, key trends and best practices in his or her specific area of expertise.

Instead of buying a brand, clients can judge TrustedPeer Experts by the credibility of their content.  Before a nickel is spent, clients know exactly whom they will be working with and the depth of expertise their expert brings to solving their problems.

“Above all else, what I, the client, am looking for, is that rare professional who has both technical skill and a sincere desire to be helpful, to work with both me and my problem. The key is empathy—the ability to enter my world and see through my eyes.”

With TrustedPeer Experts, you gain knowledge from independent consultants who are not motivated to meet the quotas of a firm. TrustedPeer and TrustedPeer Experts are dedicated to solving client problems, not selling solutions. Experts are prepared to give objective, unvarnished guidance. 


2.     Traditional Consulting Firms Don’t Reinvigorate Their Assets

 

While successful firms may adapt and adjust, they rarely reinvigorate the talents of the partners they hire. As the environment changes and technology progresses, new issues arise that require specialized skills and knowledge. Traditional consulting firms can’t or don’t make the pivot to reinvigorate their assets because they become complacent in the skills that have previously brought them success. As Maister puts it,

“What you know now and are able to do now, what your current success is built on, will unavoidably depreciate in value unless you actively work on learning new things and building new skills.”

The network of TrustedPeer Experts is growing constantly by adding  new independent consultants in specialized fields ranging from cloud integration to agriculture.  New experts bring in new knowledge and new content. All TrustedPeer Experts regularly update their business topics and content as they work in real- time to solve client problems.

When an enterprise hires a consulting firm they often have to translate the language of their industry to receive a generalized solution to their problem. This is not a problem with TrustedPeer Experts, who on average have 26 years of experience in their specific areas of expertise. They are able to provide professional counsel that, as Maister prescribes, “does not require the client to do any mental translation of generalities or terminology into his or her specific situation.”


3.   Traditional Consulting Firms Don’t Pay Enough Attention to Existing Clients

 

Firms often overemphasize new clients, while overcharging existing clients for a lesser quality of service. As Maister puts it,

“When a new client is brought in, rockets go off, bells sound, your name gets in the firm newsletter and you can bank on a good bonus. If you bring in an equivalent amount of business from existing clients, the management yawns and says, ‘at last he’s doing his job.’”

For most firms, the acquisition of a new client is more exciting and potentially more remunerative. TrustedPeer avoids this tendency by frequently updating existing clients on expertise that could be of value and offering carefully-analyzed, personal custom recommendations of TrustedPeer Experts who can address new and evolving problems.

Existing clients can chose to spend their consulting budgets more wisely on frequent well-targeted micro-consulting engagements addressing different aspects of their operations than on a single large and expensive engagement of dubious and unpredictable value. In this way, TrustedPeer offers preemptive solutions to future problems before they are allowed to spiral out of control.

 

 

 

 

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Philip Bouchard

Holidays In the Office

It's the time of the year when we think about others and what they mean to us, from our family and friends, to those we work with every day.  Whether you love shopping for gifts or would love to avoid the holiday shopping crush, it's often difficult to find a present that tells the person how much you appreciate having him or her in your life.

When I think of the people I work with at TrustedPeer, I think about all the conversations we've had, working on many projects toward our shared goal.  Every TrustedPeer Expert has special talents that we know will help people solve thorny problems they're facing at work now.  If you know someone who would benefit from having a one-on-one conversation with a management consultant, whether they need a second opinion or business ideas on a particular issue, you can gift them with a customized session with a TrustedPeer.

Our Sales Experts can help your coworkers solve a problem, sharpen their business savvy, and deliver a detailed business plan on topics ranging from Sales Management to Channel Partner Management.  Or contact us and we’ll find the best consultant for you.  

We'll also be posting lists of Experts in Marketing, AML, Innovation, and Finance, so come back and see us again.

Best Wishes and Season's Greetings!  May the holidays bring you all things warm and bright.

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Philip Bouchard

Hobbies and Helpouts vs. Business and Solutions

We applaud the launch of Google Helpouts.

We‘re glad Google is validating the need for a cloud-based platform that provides experts to help people with problems. That’s what we do at TrustedPeer. But there’s a big difference: Helpouts are for fun; TrustedPeer is all business. 

There are other differences. Let’s compare Google’s vision against our own.

Google Helpouts

  • Platform: Video chat / Google Hangouts
  • Providers: Anyone passionate about anything
  • Users: Individuals at home

TrustedPeer®

  • Platform: A scheduled problem-solving call with pre-session discovery and a customized action plan
  • Providers:  Highly-qualified, vetted experts who have seen and solved your problem many times before
  • Users: Business professionals

If you need help learning to play the guitar, apply eye makeup or do yoga, Helpouts is for you. Because these are topics of personal passion, many of the Helpouts are free. And they have already been free for a long time on YouTube, eHow and many other sites. Helpouts adds a personal and social touch, which furthers the broad interests of Google like Google Wallet, Google Hangouts and Google’s search engine.

The problems you can’t solve on Helpouts are the ones that keep you up at night, have an impact on your company’s earnings, affect your prospects for promotion and enable business goals.  

TrustedPeer is here to further your professional success and give you peace of mind. You can’t get answers to important business problems – the ones that can make or break your career – on Helpouts.  Helpouts lacks vetted, experienced, subject matter experts for professional problem-solving. TrustedPeer includes a personal and professional combination that furthers the interest of no one but you.

If you need help with a hobby or personal interest, Google Helpouts is awesome. 

If you need professional help with a difficult business situation – and you need it fast, tailored to your needs and from a peer-reviewed expert – look no further than TrustedPeer.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.

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Philip Bouchard

Disrupting Management Consulting

(Part 3 of 3)

DISRUPTING MANAGEMENT CONSULTING: A truly disruptive model offers immediacy, breadth, consistency, predictability, recognition of interdependencies and focus on client success.

I’m hearing a lot of noise these days about new business models that are disruptive to management consulting. So far, these purported “new models” and what they have to offer have underwhelmed the business world.

This much I know: The Internet is changing the knowledge economy. It can make high-level experts available to companies all over the world. And it can match expertise to need in way that is timely, targeted and efficient. 

The experiences I’ve had as a CFO, COO and CEO – not as a consultant – have taught me that what businesses really need is consultancy-on-demand with the right experts

Here is my definition of an expert: Experts have years of experience in their industries and have seen and solved business problems at all stages of a company’s life cycle. They know the best practices and can help businesses identify and implement solutions quickly.

Successful organizations will embrace a technology that matches needs with experts to gain competitive advantage.

This disruptive model has the following characteristics.

  • It provides immediate access to a vetted expert perfectly matched to you, your industry, your company’s stage of development, your operating function and your specific expertise need.
  • It covers the full breadth of problems you face – whether you need a second opinion, have an operational process problem, need to understand a new technology or market, want to validate an existing approach or need to risk-assess a compliance requirement.
  • It delivers with consistency in an ongoing relationship, with persistent data that is confidentially maintained.
  • It offers a predictable cost and a line-of-sight timeframe to problem resolution.
  • It recognizes that your issues are not functionally siloed, but are interdependent across internal and external areas of your business.
  • It is a model focused on your success and not on the consultant’s success.

In short, the disruption of management consulting has begun.  It’s about the right expert, right now.  That’s why I started TrustedPeer.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.

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Philip Bouchard

Avoiding Management Mistakes

(Part 2 of 3)

AVOID BONEHEAD MANAGEMENT MISTAKES: We all make mistakes. But many of them could be avoided if business professionals had easy access to the right expert at the right time.

In my business career, I’ve made my share of regrettable, bonehead mistakes.  What made them regrettable was that they could easily have been avoided – because these were known common problems with known best practice solutions.  

It wasn't like I was creating a new technology or developing a breakthrough business model. I didn’t need to reinvent any wheels. These were operating problems.

Any of these sound familiar?

  • I built out an entire sales team before the company could support it.
  • I didn't follow my gut instinct and confront the board because I wasn't confident enough in my position.
  • I shipped a product before it was market-ready.
  • I brought on board a nightmare VP (more than once).
  • I entered a new market too late. And also one too early.
  • I purchased a new ERP system that didn't make sense for our stage of development.

In each case, I lacked an expert who knew my industry and had seen and solved my problem many times before.

Imagine conferring with the perfect expert who can quickly assess your situation, discuss the factors driving your business need and provide you with a clear, concise action plan to get you on track.

Now imagine that same expert following up with you and being available to make sure you don’t drift from the plan.

That’s the essence of TrustedPeer.  

We’ve all had a great consulting experience – and a terrible one.  Please leave your story in the comments.

Next Up:  What's This All About? (Part 3 of 3):  Disrupting Management Consulting.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard.

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Philip Bouchard

What’s This All About?

(Part 1 of 3)

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU NEED: Immediacy and laser-targeted relevance are now management consulting requirements. What we in business need and what we get don’t match. That’s why I founded TrustedPeer.

When I face a business problem and don’t have the expertise I need, I want precise subject matter expertise very quickly. I have three options for finding it.  Each option is risky and inefficient, and the time to resolution is unpredictable.

  1. Conduct an Internet search. Internet search is time-consuming and unreliable. How can I trust content that is dated, anonymously written or is link-bait?
  2. Turn to a personal network. Personal networks are great if I have the perfect network with no gaps. In addition, it is not always easy to reveal shortcomings to someone who may be conflicted about how truthful to be in response.  If I ask you for advice, you may decide there’s no upside to saying what you really think. What if you give me good advice and I don’t take it? Or bad advice and I do? Either way, you lose. Better to equivocate, right? Or put me off hoping I’ll find a solution elsewhere.
  3. Contract with a large firm for a full-on consulting engagement. A McKinsey partner would be delighted to sell me on a plan to bring in a bunch of new associates (really smart, but with no professional experience) to camp out in my conference room and eventually, after some undisclosed time, deliver a strategy that I can't afford to implement.

Since none of these are satisfactory, and what I really need is targeted and custom, I decide to seek an experienced professional. I ask logical questions. Who is responsive? Who is the best? How do I select the right expert? How much should it cost? How long should it take? What about project scope, discovery, contract negotiation, price negotiation and resources required?

It all boils down to one question: How can I get an opinion I can trust from an expert who knows my industry and has seen and solved my problem many times before?

Before I post with more details, tell me, how do you find that trusted expert?  We welcome your comments.

Next Up: What's This All About? (Part 2 of 3): Avoiding Bonehead Management Mistakes.

If you need consulting on Business Development, contact TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard .

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