The Black Hole

by | 3 Dec 2018

Confronting bad news is part of the job for any self-respecting C-Suite Executive.

As consultants, we are often called upon when bad news breaks because, as independent professionals whose role exclusively is complex problem definition and solving for clients, we often see quickly and objectively how the situation has arisen and what must be done.

This does not imply that we are smarter than the average bear, or that the executive management teams are not. However, an objective eye may help clients get back on track faster and cheaper than perhaps they might otherwise – resolving vested interests and conflicts diplomatically (or otherwise as need be) along the way.

A “unique-to-them” corporate dilemma may be one which has been witnessed (and defeated) several times by external consultants elsewhere, thus by leveraging that experience of succinct problem definition and known successful solutions, we can deliver real value quickly.

So why does it happen?

Why do clients sometimes seem surprised to find themselves in a cost challenge position, or suddenly realise that sales are not happening as quickly or in the magnitude expected?

The Right Measures

In today’s data-rich world, when there is so much data captured and accessible, and the ability to mine it that data is “cheap-as-chips”, the prospect of being misled by the wrong or having key information buried is as dangerous as not having any data at all!

We often find that organisations (and sometimes whole sectors) are data rich and insight poor*. Linking the correct drivers to the real consequences allows remediation actions to be implemented and effect measured promptly. “The right measures lead to right measures”.

The Right Infrastructure

Evolved infrastructure (cost/systems/people) may have been perfectly relevant in a different time but may no longer be optimal for the current type or size of business or operations nor be scaleable (up or down) in the medium or long term.

An external perspective from professionals who are not invested in decisions of the past, can assist Executive Teams objectively implement a new model or organisational structure be more “fit for the future”.

The Right Change

Change is constant. Too much can swamp an organisation; too little leaves it behind the pack.

Executives need to balance the need for change alongside “keeping the show on the road”. Neither can exist in isolation as the business evolves to meet increasing demands – faster, cheaper, better.

External independent consultants help get the balance right – providing independent assessment of investment cases, reviews of hurdle rates, assurance of benefit realisation (likelihood and accrual) as well as bring change capability (solution design and implementation).

I think the value we bring to clients is that experience but with a fresh set of eyes on a ‘new’ problem. We harness that to help our clients only understand the symptom and the root causes and extract the data to help them make effective and timely corrective action.

The most rewarding projects I have led have helped the client uncover the root of the problem and discover what they must do about it; avoiding at all costs that feeling that consulting is being “done to them”. They often need help in delivering the solution, but when it is their solution, the value created is so much higher.

That we have (in all probability) experienced this before and, more importantly, resolved the issues helps clients realise that they can survive “the black hole” and they don’t need to tackle it alone.

If any of this resonates with you and the situation you face, let us provide insight and support. Contact us for a chat.