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Top 7 Defining Characteristics of Value-Based Consulting

By Tom Varjan

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As opposed to traditional task-based consulting you perform tasks to create deliverables at a competitive (-ly low) price. You are perceived as a necessary expense, but an expense nevertheless. The focus is tactical. These are the steps we take wherever they take us to. The plan is rigid and the outcome is dubious.

In value-based consulting you focus on improving the client’s condition both organisationally, professionally and personally. The focus is strategic. We want to achieve specific results, and together we figure out what the best way is to get there. The outcome is set and the plan to get there is flexible.

Traditional consulting requires an army of consultants (outsourced labourers really) to do the work. Clients demand improvement from the consultants in a “take care of this for me fashion”, but not from their own people. All in all, clients expect the consultants to produce results. That is impossible because the consultants are not decision-maskers.

In value-based consulting there is only one consultant working with the client’s implementing team. That is correct. Clients demand improvement from their own people (the implementing team), and the team is allowed to invest the support of a consultant. Clients expect their own people to produce results with the help and support of the consultant.

  1. People from different backgrounds and different organisations are thrown into the melting pot together. Cultures may clash, expertise may collide, experiences may conflict, tempers may rise, tears may be shed, but the end result synergistically combines many different perspectives, which is drastically higher in magnitude than the sum of the individual parts.

  2. Diversity and conflicting views are overcome by focusing on a shared objective, usually related to creating both a qualitative and quantitative lasting positive impact on the client’s condition.

  3. By focusing on outcomes, as opposed on tasks and deliverables, the initiative becomes an investment in a specific outcome, and the project’s benefits are directly measurable. There is a drastic difference between spending money on a sales workshop and making an investment in an initiative to increase sales by 20%.

  4. Predefined off-the-shelf (you do it FOR me) methodologies are replaced by highly customised approaches and implementation (you do it WITH me).

  5. Tight time frames and close team work assures that formality and bureaucracy are cut out as much as possible.

  6. Each member of the implementing team is empowered and encouraged to make decisions which under normal circumstances would require several signatures from high above.

  7. The emphasis is not on developing rigid anal retentive plans but creating dynamic, agile and flexible models which enable team members to evaluate various scenarios and turn on a dime [change the course of action] if necessary with the agility of a butterfly and deal with the challenge and opportunity with the impact of a bulldozer.

Organisational Provocateur, Tom "Bald Dog" Varjan of Dynamic Innovations Squad works with professional service businesses that struggle to communicate and to get paid for the true value of their services. His web site offers a broad range of free tools and resources for professional service firms both gigantic and microscopic. Visit his site at http://www.di-squad.com.

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Tom_Varjan

Article Submitted On: September 26, 2004