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Chapter 1. The framework background > Change consulting examples

Change consulting examples

It is important to stress that this book is focused on the consulting process, not the consultant. Although many books consider the skills, attributes and experience you need to be an effective consultant, my intention is to put more stress on the life cycle of the whole process. This activity can be found the world over in a variety of situations:

  • Personnel officer: Over recent years we have seen a dramatic change in the HR sector. No longer are personnel officers expected to act as back office support to the line. They are now being re-badged as HR consultants - with a clear responsibility to provide a consultative service to a range of company departments.

  • IT manager: Yet again, the IT sector has to understand how it can provide high-quality but cost-effective support to a range of demanding customers. This includes the systems analyst who is planning to upgrade an entire system; the help desk operator who has to manage over 100 diagnostic interviews in a day; and the floor technicians who provide support to people at the front line.

  • Operations: This might be a process engineering consultant called into a manufacturing company to shave days off the delivery cycle or a quality auditor assessing the level of failure built into an organization's process.

  • Finance: The plethora of independent financial advisors offers a vivid example of the consulting process in action. These people take someone else's financial situation, create options and (hopefully) take the client through to a position where he or she has a robust financial plan in place.

  • Sports coach: A tennis coach can take a naïve teenager all the way through to the Wimbledon finals. This is simply one long change process filled with a number of lower-level change projects.

  • Organizational change: Think about the difficult transformations that so many large companies have gone through in reducing their headcount. Such a massive reduction in size requires extraordinary levels of change management to ensure that the company does not stumble during the transformation.

  • Doctor: The doctor asked to diagnose a child's illness is a basic consulting engagement, where the parents are the client and the child is the end consumer of the change.

  • War: You might not envy the army officer directed by a general to take and hold a strategic hill. He probably has just one chance. He must diagnose, plan and execute any action with the utmost precision; otherwise lives will be lost.

  • Customer service: A client engagement is made every time a waiter deals with a customer, a bartender serves a drink or a railway conductor responds to a customer query. In each case someone has a problem to be resolved (the client), and the recipient of the question (the consultant) has an implied contract to take action.


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