In a recent blog The Pros and Cons - Interim Managers vs Management Consultants vs Internal Resources,(read more here) I looked at the three main resourcing options that are available (alongside the potential pro’s and cons) when compiling a project team to drive transformation.
At different stages of a project cycle there are challenges to over come as projects launch, sustain and scale. Being aware of these problems within the change programme and resourcing effectively to mitigate against them, is the key to success.
With this in mind, I have looked at numerous typical organisational project scenarios and offer insights and direction based on EO Executives experience and expertise of the best resources to utilise to ensure projects are a success.
Cost Reduction Initiatives
Interim Mangers are well suited to cost reduction initiatives as they will typically offer a breadth of industry experience. They will also understand that marginal savings can no longer guarantee survival and success. They will have hands on experience to be able to demonstrate that priority isn’t the costs that are cut, but where you focus resources to stimulate growth and differentiation – strategic cost reduction.
In many organisations, the quick cost wins have been largely accomplished, leaving more strategic choices. This can include withdrawal from markets, significant shifts in business model and complete automation or even elimination of certain processes.
New Market Penetration
When you do not have in-house resources with the knowledge or bench-marking data for new markets, Management Consultants have a huge role to play in offering trend data and strategic insights.
Market entry or new product launches are burdened with risk. During this type of investment, detailed knowledge about the market, identifying the needs of local consumers, and an effective market penetration strategy are all vital factors.
Management Consultants can bring strategic insights that can significantly reduce the risk of failure and business take full advantage of growth opportunities.
Mergers and Acquisitions
There are generally two different scenarios: pre-acquisition and post-acquisition work.
The pre-aquisition stage is where an organisation should invest in highest calibre of management consultant. Management consultants are experts in this field and are very good at helping take the guesswork out of the numbers and cut through the inevitable “window dressing”. The stakes are too high to experiment with an untested solution.
On the other hand, post-acquisition Integration is well suited to Internal project teams made up of individuals from both the acquired business and the acquirer. Interim Managers can also work well acting as the facilitator and conduit between the two businesses during the integration as they are objective and without historical or future agenda.
Whether we are talking ERP, CRM, P2P, eLearning platforms or any other new system roll-out, you will need to establish a project team that is a blend of all the above resourcing options. Choosing one option is where many businesses fail.
- Management consultants can play a vital role as the systems integrator, bringing previous experiences and a road map to the table.
- Interim Managers bring war stories and vital experiences and will play a key conduit role in managing the PMO, stakeholders (Internal and external) and the systems integrator. Like Management Consultants they will have done this multiple times and will bring specialist systems knowledge.
- Internal project teams need to be involved to ensure that the project has business context and to act as system champions after the consultants have gone.
In a world of digital disruption, where businesses began with the analysis of digitalisation’s impact, we are now seeing the design and implementation of ‘real-world’ solutions aligning People, Process and Technology. Often during a period of transformation we see Management Consultants, Interim Managers and Internal Project Teams working together.
Management Consultants are focused on improving organisational performance by analysing existing problems, challenges and developing plans for improvement. This is often a process of radical change that takes an organisation in a new direction and to an entirely different level of effectiveness.
Once a Management Consultant has provided there input around change in organisation structure and strategy, Interim Managers will be hired to take it to the next level and implement the changes. They work in conjunction with Internal Project Teams who are able to understand the project in the context of the wider organisation and have a vested interest in the project’s success.
Gaining Directional Consensus
As an MD/CEO getting shut-down by your team due a resistance to change is difficult. Hiring external consultants to add more value to an already compelling business case will help move the proposition over the line.
Management consulting firms will have the ability to to cut through the noise, and can be valuable in supporting leaders represent their case. Alternatively, you may find it more beneficial to work with an Interim Manager. Interim Managers operate in a much more advisory capacity, but will have deep technical/industry experience. Along with a consistent track record of success.
Interim experts will bring the gravitas and will be a critical asset to your businesses long term vision.
Nearly every business will come across what we call “an unforeseen people challenge” – it happens in businesses all of the time. These scenarios can include Critical Gap cover, Temporary Leadership and bringing subject matter expertise. Interim Managers are able to reduce any induced pain on an organisation, ensure business continuity and support teams through the transition. As experienced managers and directors who have spent time sat “in the clients seat”.
What are your thoughts and experiences of running projects using consultants, interim managers and internal teams? As always we are interested to hear your views.
If you are looking To Strength Your Internal Team, make sure you download our talent hiring checklist for a best in class end to end hiring process.