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Consulting Skills: The Art and Science of Success

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Every business needs to have a consultative approach that increases organizational buy-in, enhances client relationships and improves customer service. Applying consulting skills can mean greater success for individuals and organizations alike.

In this one-hour webinar, Michelle Moore will provide an overview of the Consulting Skills Lifecycle and present practical ideas from our McMaster Certified Consulting Skills Program. You'll learn how to:

Engage your clients.
Gather and analyze information.
Present findings and recommendations.
Plan and implement recommendations.
Conclude the engagement and evaluate results.

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Consulting Skills: The Art and Science of Success

  1. 1. Consulting Skills The Art and Science of Success Michelle Moore Senior Director, Leadership & Business Solutions
  2. 2. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 1 Today’s Customers More complex needs and solutions Increased focus on delivering business value Broader stakeholder groups Accelerated timelines
  3. 3. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 2 The Secret to Success – A Consultative Approach • Applying your technical expertise and business acumen to the client’s business issue, opportunity or problem to recommend (and deliver) a solution that achieves defined business outcomes. Consulting
  4. 4. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 3 Consulting Skills – A Science and an Art Process Tools Skills & Competencies
  5. 5. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 4 Agenda  The Consulting Process & Tools  Skills and Competencies Required for Success  Learning More  Questions and Answers
  6. 6. The Consulting Process & Tools
  7. 7. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 6 The Consulting Engagement Life Cycle
  8. 8. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 7 Step 1 – Engage the Client
  9. 9. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 8 Step 2 –Gather and Analyze Information
  10. 10. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 9 Step 3 – Present Findings and Recommendations
  11. 11. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 10 Step 4 – Plan and Implement Recommendations
  12. 12. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 11 Step 5 – Evaluate Results and Evolve Engagement
  13. 13. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 12 Step 1 – Engage the Client: Key Actions 1. Meet the client and establish an initial working relationship 2. Establish a preliminary understanding of client needs 3. Confirm preliminary understanding of the problem and the client’s viewpoint 4. Provide a written description of work to be done and approach 5. Gain client commitment to proceed
  14. 14. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 13 Examples of Step 1 Tools Stakeholder Analysis Questioning Strategy Worksheet
  15. 15. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 14 Stakeholder Worksheet – Identify the Stakeholders  Recommender  Decision Maker  Approver  Influencer  Target Group  Implementer  Senior Management
  16. 16. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 15 And Uncover What is Important to Them – The Strategic Questioning Process
  17. 17. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 16 Step 1 – Current Situation  Current business situation:  Goals and priorities  Structure  All other as-is conditions
  18. 18. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 17 Step 2 – Current Problems or Opportunities  Current business problems or opportunities  Quantify the problem or opportunity:  How large?  How often?  Stakeholders?  Root cause?
  19. 19. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 18 Step 3 – Future Problems or Opportunities  Impact to business of not solving problems or capitalizing on opportunities
  20. 20. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 19 Step 4 – Future Options  Requirements for solution:  Seek  Avoid  Desired business results
  21. 21. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 20 Step 2 – Gather and Analyze Information: Key Actions 1. Collect and organize data to define the issue, opportunity or problem 2. Define success criteria 3. Identify alternative solutions 4. Select optimal solution against success criteria 5. Develop recommendation
  22. 22. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 21 Examples of Step 2 Tools Data Collection Plan Worksheet Alternative Solutions Selecting Optimal Solution(s)
  23. 23. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 22 Source of Data Sources of Data Client Personnel Client Records Suppliers or Customers Outside Experts Industry Data
  24. 24. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 23 Data Collection Methods Direct Observation Interviews Secondary Data Review Surveys and Questionnaires
  25. 25. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 24 Facilitation Techniques  Three main categories:  Idea or data generation  Analysis  Prioritisation
  26. 26. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 25 Nominal Group Technique (Idea Generation) 1. Decide on a topic 2. Explain the objective and process 3. Have participants silently write ideas on index cards or Post-It notes 4. Read out and categorise ideas 5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 if desired 6. Move to decision-making
  27. 27. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 26 Why 1 Why 2 Why 3 Why 4 Why 5 Root Cause Analysis – Five Whys Issue/Opportunity/Problem: High Cost of Travel Airfare too high Many meetings Many issues Regulatory changes Many jurisdictions Unproductive meetings Lack of preparation Insufficient lead time to prepare Many attendees Lack of delegation of authority Lack of trust Cultural rift in acquired company Many skills needed Topics are complex Issues span many geographic regions Root Causes
  28. 28. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 27 Focus Group Multi-Voting (Prioritization)
  29. 29. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 28 Step 3 – Present Findings and Recommendations: Key Actions 1. Document your recommendations 2. Prepare to present to client 3. Present recommendations to client 4. Follow up 5. Gain acceptance of recommended solution
  30. 30. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 29 Example of a Step 3 Tool Report Recommendation
  31. 31. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 30 Recognizing Client Objections or Concerns Factor Definition Verbal The words the client says Para-Verbal How the client sounds Non-Verbal What the client looks like
  32. 32. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 31 The Overcoming Concerns or Objections Model Acknowledge Probe Discuss Agree
  33. 33. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 32 The Overcoming Concerns or Objections Model – Acknowledge Acknowledge Probe Discuss Agree
  34. 34. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 33 The Overcoming Concerns or Objections Model – Probe Acknowledge Probe Discuss Agree
  35. 35. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 34 The Overcoming Concerns or Objections Model – Discuss Acknowledge Probe Discuss Agree
  36. 36. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 35 The Overcoming Concerns or Objections Model – Agree Acknowledge Probe Discuss Agree
  37. 37. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 36 Step 4 – Plan and Implement Recommendations: Key Actions 1. Identify factors that have an impact on implementation success 2. Transition responsibility to project manager 3. Ensure project plan is executed
  38. 38. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 37 Example of a Step 4 Tool Risk Analysis
  39. 39. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 38 The Technical Consultant and Risk Factors  Throughout the Consulting Engagement Life Cycle identify:  Business risk  Operational risk  Financial risk  Technology risk  Human resources risk  Communication risk  Organizational risk
  40. 40. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 39 Tool: Risk Factor Worksheet  Look at each risk and identify the likelihood and potential impact of each risk identified
  41. 41. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 40 Step 5 – Evaluate Results and Evolve Engagement: Key Actions 1. End the engagement 2. Evaluate engagement and incorporate lessons learned 3. Celebrate successes 4. Identify next steps
  42. 42. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 41 Example of a Step 5 Tool Engagement Closure Report
  43. 43. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 42 Completing the Picture Data – Insight – Actionable Ideas
  44. 44. Skills and Competencies Required for Success
  45. 45. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 44 The Competency Model Core Behaviours Consulting Engagement Life Cycle Behaviours Build and Leverage Business Acumen Advance the Client Relationship Communicate Effectively
  46. 46. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 45 The Consultancy Competency Model – The Foundation for Success Build and Leverage Business Acumen • Demonstrates breadth of knowledge in multiple disciplines across your company and/or your client’s value chain – e.g., finance, technology, business operations, marketing, sales, logistics, etc… • Uses formal and informal methods to increase industry knowledge: industry performance, competition, trends, etc… • Acquires knowledge of client’s industry • Displays judgment in assessing costs and benefits of recommendations • Produces something of value to the client Advance the Client Relationship • Manages client expectations • Builds, sustains and leverages relationships internally and with external clients or partners • Increases internal and external network of contacts • Understands the unique needs of individual stakeholders Communicate Effectively • Maintains a constructive problem-solving communication approach when faced with negative or challenging situations • Constructively challenges the views of others • Negotiates effectively • Recognizes and resolves conflict • Influence others even in the absence of formal authority
  47. 47. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 46 Building Relationships – Three Core Skills
  48. 48. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 47 The Impact of Service
  49. 49. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 48 Creating Client Memories
  50. 50. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 49 Unforgiveable Service
  51. 51. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 50 Unremarkable Service
  52. 52. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 51 Unforgettable Service
  53. 53. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 52 The Building Client Relationships Model  Identifies level of relationship with customer based on what is important to the customer  Allows you to adapt your approach to meet their expectations  Helps you identify clients to focus on to deepen relationships
  54. 54. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 53 Product/Service Vendor
  55. 55. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 54 Business Partner
  56. 56. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 55 Trusted Advisor
  57. 57. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 56 The Building Client Relationships Model – Your Focus
  58. 58. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 57 Level 1 – Understand and Satisfy Needs  Use the Strategic Questioning Process to ask questions to fully understand needs
  59. 59. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 58 Level 2 – Collaborate to Improve Options  Listen  Exceed their expectations
  60. 60. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 59 Level 3 – Provide Advice and Influence Thinking  Be an expert on your client’s business  Know your own unique value
  61. 61. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 60 Understanding your Customer Business Model Business Strategy Business Process KPIs
  62. 62. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 61 Understanding Your Competitive Advantage
  63. 63. Learning More
  64. 64. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 63 The Consulting Skills Curriculum Consulting Fundamentals Analysis and Problem Solving Making Recommendations – Communication Skills for Consultants Developing Client Relationships for Consultants Planning and Implementing for Consultants
  65. 65. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 64 The Consulting Skills Certification Program  5 modules + optional practicum  Built on the Consulting Lifecycle and supporting competencies  Supported by Learning Portal  Two Levels of Certification by McMaster University:  Associate’s certificate of completion  Advanced certificate of completion
  66. 66. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 65 Certification Details Associate’s Certificate • Completion of three programs in one year 1. Consulting Fundamentals 2. Analysis and Problem Solving 3. Making Recommendations – Effective Communication for Consultants Advanced Certificate • Complete four modules within two years • Provide evidence of Project Management knowledge through course completion, evidence of PMP certification or two years experience in role of Project Manager • Completion of practicum
  67. 67. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 66 Follow Us on Twitter @GKCANADA
  68. 68. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 67 Read Our Blogs
  69. 69. © 2015 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. 2015-07-09 Page 68 Learning More www.globalknowledge.ca On-demand and live webinars, white papers, blog, courses, special offers and more…
  70. 70. Thank You! michelle.moore@globalknowledge.com
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Every business needs to have a consultative approach that increases organizational buy-in, enhances client relationships and improves customer service. Applying consulting skills can mean greater success for individuals and organizations alike. In this one-hour webinar, Michelle Moore will provide an overview of the Consulting Skills Lifecycle and present practical ideas from our McMaster Certified Consulting Skills Program. You'll learn how to: Engage your clients. Gather and analyze information. Present findings and recommendations. Plan and implement recommendations. Conclude the engagement and evaluate results.

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