Enough articles and news items have been written about the growth story of India. We would not want to repeat the same stories and take away your valuable time.
We would like to present another key development which is practiced worldwide and also begun to spread its roots in the Indian business environment.
We are referring to the increasing orientation of Indian entrepreneurs to look at their business’s growth plans and identify external consultants to provide the necessary ideas, inputs and guidance to help them grow their businesses. This development also addresses the perennial issue faced by all industries of shortage and availability of QUALITY manpower.
The generally accepted model for such engagements is to retain the services of an external strategy consultant and have him bring identify and arrange for all necessary competencies and skill sets that the business needs to launch, and manage its growth plans.
Some of the key benefits of this approach are listed here…
Cross Industry Knowledge
Consulting organizations generally come with a multitude of consultants who come from and bring in varied learnings from different industries and also a vastly superior experience in business management. Such consulting organizations are able to pool their resources and draw upon different strengths of their consultants based on the specific needs of the clients.
Structured Approach of Working
The very nature of the business demands that most consulting organizations create and work in a structured manner. They should have different questionnaires and other predefined data-points to collect all necessary data pertaining to different aspect their clients business.
This system driven approach helps such consultants in looking at the business in its entirety and their clients’ requirements thus benefiting in the assignment delivery.
Shorter Timelines… Faster Turnarounds
Time is the only RESOURCE that is finite for any person. Time wasted is time lost. With high billable rates, optimizing utilization of time is a factor that drives maximization of revenues for all such consulting organizations. Hence it becomes imperative that they complete their assignments in the shortest period of time and not spread their resources to thin.
This indirectly dovetails into a major benefit for the clients. They are able to derive benefits from the consultants interventions and display quicker turnaround times and results in the objectives than they originally set out to do.
A senior and highly skilled professional hired on a full-time basis is primarily supposed to THINK and provide long term strategic inputs to the organization. If done correctly this typically takes <10% of total time that he is supposed to work. Typically thinking is the last thing that most people do. Hiring such resources also entails a huge cost. An external consultant provides the same strategic thoughts at a fraction of the cost of a full timer. Also a typical challenge faced by many entrepreneurs is lack of understanding of how to manage such senior professionals.
Consultants typically would look at any assignment from a systems perspective and identify such systemic gaps and create necessary systems and processes to sustain business operations and growth.
Once set up these systems are meant to be self sustaining in nature and only need support from junior or middle level managerial personnel thereby leading to huge cost savings for the organization in the short and long run.
Along with various benefits, the consulting model for business management also has a few pitfalls. They typically relate with:
- awareness of the competency level of the consultants and their specific skill areas prior to their appointment
- how do you ensure that the consultants you appointed are delivering on the stated and allied objectives and not taking you for a ride
- how do you validate the ideas and solutions suggested by the consultant are correct
Considering the very fast growth pace that all sectors are witnessing in India today, it will be more and more difficult for most HR departments to hire the correct personnel and also focus on all key Talent Development and Talent Retention aspects for all people at the same time. This is especially required for the people who are at the core of organizational contribution. By their very nature consultants are highly self driven and need no morale building initiatives from the organization.
The pitfalls listed above makes the job difficult but not impossible. A little deeper thought will allow you to appoint a consultant and not risk losing time and money in such relationships.
Founder & Principal Consultant