By RUBIELYN RAMONES, Consultant.

As governments relax COVID-19 containment measures and people cautiously return to their offices, we may be lulled into thinking that life is returning to normal. But now is not the time to relax or to be passive, warns the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In a recent WEF survey, risk experts identified the top fallout risks from the pandemic. They included a prolonged global recession, bankruptcies, industry consolidations, supply chain disruptions and another outbreak of disease.

The question is not if change is coming but when. Whatever the disruption, companies cannot remain passive to these potential threats.

Instead, they should put measures in place now so that they can get on top of the disruption when it inevitably comes.

A change initiative is often a complex operation. Roping in a change partner to support the transformation is a good strategy as they provide the necessary insights and skills to pivot quickly.

Tap the right expertise

The right implementation partner can help companies to swiftly prepare and plan strategically. Here are some ways they can help:

1. Make the tough decisions

To build a more resilient company, tough decisions must be made. Some companies may need to trim down a bloated workforce. Salaries or benefits may have to be cut. Major operational and strategic shifts will be made.

Understandably, many senior managers find it difficult to make these hard decisions. Some may lack the necessary experience and end up causing more harm to the organisation during the exercise.

Management consultants can assess the situation objectively and lead the decision-making process. This can provide protective distance, or political cover, as well as reassurance that the decisions are made based on solid analysis.

2. Embed best management practices

Consultants have wide experience serving companies across different industries and solving a multitude of problems. This gives them unique perspectives and deep insights. As a result, they can spot opportunities and come up with relevant solutions quickly.

Every consulting firm has this knowledge kept in databases, white papers, case studies and post-project reviews. However, the most valuable insights exist in the heads of partners and senior consultants and nowhere else.

Tapping into this expertise will give organisation access to the right ideas, solutions and implementation methods.

3. Add analytical horsepower

Some organisations may lack the skill or in-house knowledge to solve a problem or execute a strategy. With their knowledge, capabilities and wide expertise, management consultants can boost an organisation’s resources in a short period.

For example, consultants can perform a thorough analysis of an organisation’s resources, processes, systems and structures to identify the right strategies.

4. Plug a skills gap and act as interim management

During a crisis, consultants can act as interim management for a short time. This allows companies to quickly plug a skills gap created by an expansion or contraction and steer the team to the right direction. This also ensures continuity of processes and services.

5. Guide employees through the emotional roller coaster of change

Change is difficult for people, which is why transformation is difficult for organisations. The workforce goes through a rollercoaster of emotions during a change initiative. Often there is a drop in morale and a temptation to abandon efforts. Just as a personal trainer keeps you in shape, change management consultants are experienced in pulling employees out of the dips, providing the necessary on-the-job coaching to adapt to the new ways of working.

6. Gain fresh perspective

It can be difficult for frontline employees, caught up with day-to-day responsibilities to have clarity to look at things with a critical eye.

The value consultants bring because of their outside perspective can be invaluable. Often, the insights are simple, and this is only made possible by their perspective as an outside expert.

Sometimes the insights may seem like common sense, but unfortunately, common sense isn’t that common. Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees.

When something seems like “common sense” it is a strong indication that it is the right thing to do.

Choosing the right change partner

Here’s what to look for in your change partner:

1. Specialist expertise

Large consultancies may have a greater breadth of resources to solve problems (for example, data mining and primary market research). Boutique ones, on the other hand, may have unique, specialist expertise.

2. Tailored solutions

Boilerplate solutions will not be adequate for your goals or needs. Make sure that the strategies are tailored to your organisation’s unique characteristics, needs and goals.

3. A hands-on approach

Organisations should work with a consultancy that is hands-on. They shouldn’t just tell you what to do or what not to do and give you lists of actions for your team to carry out.

A consultancy that stays with your company from planning to implementation and beyond will ensure that changes have a higher chance of sticking.

Renoir Consulting is somewhere between big and boutique. Our company has the collective experience, in-house knowledge and resources, and specialist expertise to deliver deep insight. We excel at creating bespoke solutions and delivering substantial benefits for clients.

Whatever reasons a client has for an engagement, the best change partners deliver not only outstanding results, they deliver sustainable outstanding results.

We see one of our primary roles as providing training and coaching to equip an organisation’s employees with the necessary knowledge, skills and mindsets to ensure the engagement results in an ongoing positive impact.

If this resonates with you, contact us for an appointment today.