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Long has recognized business consulting or organizational in general as a professional service useful to help managers of organizations to identify and define the main problems that affect their organizations to achieve its fundamental purposes, emanating from the mission objectives, analyze the causes that provoke it, identifying the causes real estate and project actions for its further development and to implement these. The ongoing work of the consultant as an " agent of change ", involves the transfer of knowledge, Know How and training of the personnel of organizations, implicitly or explicitly.
The action of the current consultant and the approach generally used aims to intense and temporarily assist organizations to carry out this project and not run it for himself, so that its managers and workers acquire knowledge and skills that turn it into a real agent, internal consultant endogenous change in a process of continuous improvement of the processes and their results this mode "new" has been called collaborative consulting (or participatory) (Sherwood (1989) (, Doyle (1989), Portuondo (1992)). Collaborative consulting should aim to set changes, the solutions adopted, because it must achieve arising from the Organization itself, out of own conviction about the need and the goodness of such change and its essence is to create the capability of change that demands throughout the organization that intends to improve its processes and outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Concept

The consultancy is a service provided by a person or several people independent and qualified in the identification and investigation of problems related to policies, organization, procedures and methods; recommendation of appropriate measures and provision of assistance in the implementation of these recommendations.
The consultancy is a difficult work based on analysis of specific facts and the search for solutions. For this reason must be indispensable cooperation between client and consultant, making together a rich finish.
The work of the consultant can begin on different situations:
  • to the emergence of an event judged unsatisfactory and susceptible of improvement.
  • to renew a company profile, so that it does not disappear in the market.
  • at the start of a company, advising from its beginnings in the relevance to the accounting, financial, economic and other aspects that the client may be required.
The consultant does not have direct authority to make decisions and execute them, therefore must ensure the maximum participation of the client, in order to achieve reliable advice and a satisfactory application of its Board.

Forms of consulting and its essence

The known is traditionally identified as forms of consulting that could be called then-traditional - and participative (also called collaborative).
In the traditional consulting are essentially two variants:
  • Customer (entity that receives Consulting), presents problems, the consultant provides solutions
  • Customer, which knows that it has some problems, requests that the consultant identify problems and provide solutions.

Collaborative consulting

This modality is based on some assumptions between the s which are:
  • Consultant (although it is) is not an expert: is a partner fair of the customer entity.
  • The real experts are employees of the client organization.
  • The real experience on their specific situations lie in workers of the client organization.
  • The workers and managers of the client organization are able to identify the problems that have.
  • The workers and managers of the client organization are able to define the solutions to those problems.
  • The workers and managers of the client organization are capable consultant is able to implement those solutions.
Being all of the above true, which in its essence it is, why is then required the presence of a consultant?
It is justified, and at times very important: it can help to clarify, you can help customer to identify the problem, define the solution and apply it: there are reactions that do not develop without the presence of a facilitator, a catalyst an agent of change. The consultant.
Collaborative consulting is manifested the need for theoretical and practice above all, participation in the Decade of the 1950s that have concrete manifestations in the field of business management is no doubt that the more this convinced a person that has set their own goals and has helped define them, most likely there is that work commitment in achieving them and overcome all the obstacles that stand.
Therefore, consulting that has sought to develop today is collaborative type that seeks change through participatory processes. In the promotion of such changes is essential to achieve unique, collective work between the client organization's staff and consultants, for which due have present principles and modern techniques of address
In a process of Exchange or interaction between a home agent and other external, that merge into a unit of work with the criterion of give or raise the capability of self-development of an organization, and therefore skills groups that form them to identify, rank and deal with solving the problems with better chances of success.
The consulting - and especially the collaborative - work takes place in a complex context of political factors - social, technical-organizational and economic, which requires certain qualities of the consultant.
Consultancy can also be classified according to their reach:
Comprehensive : refer to change throughout the Organization, which considers all processes and subsystems, it is so common to talk about collaborative comprehensive consulting is one of the most common nowadays.
Partial: Refer to the processes of change or support through actions of advice in one or more subsystems or processes of the organization.
However the above and any is the scope of the consultancy must have present that the organization is a system and that any change must take into account the effect that was reached in relation to the rest of the system, and remember that optimizing parts rarely you get to optimize the system, rather the opposite.

Consulting and training, research and information

Consulting isn't the only service or technique of intervention that helps to improve the managerial competence and performance of an organization. Although they have their own methodological criteria, training, research and information services pursue the same ultimate goal help the direction as the consulting, which are closely linked. Consultants widely use these services in their relationship with customers or the preparation of new tasks.

Consulting and training

The consultancy is inseparable from the training. As mentioned above, particularly in effective consulting approach the learning component is very important. The client learns of the consultant, but consultant also learns of the customer and this helps to adjust its approach in the following phases of their mission and accumulate experience for future contracts.
In all mission consulting you learn something, although the knowledge acquired can be limited if the consultant that directly performs the task and transmits the results to the client. This is the reason why in our book is so important to a collaborative relationship and modalities of consulting that require the active participation of the customer. The client learns not performing regular and routine, but carrying out, in collaboration with the consultant, useful tasks that are new to it and gaining the ability to analyze problems from new angles.
The capacity is often used as an intervention technique to assist in change and help the members of your organization to assume the changes proposed as a result of the consultancy. The consultant can be that different modes of training are included in the task, that they can take the form of a seminar on data collection techniques or new developments in the technical field covered by the consultancy. Extensive training programmes can be part of the start-up phase in practice, for example, whether to introduce major changes to address information and control systems or in the strategy and marketing techniques.
Many consulting organizations are not limited to offer training services to its clients. The experience gained through the various tasks assigned by the customers is very useful to conceive of address staff development programs, practice-oriented. You can try regular programs, or special management seminars and round tables. The experience of the consultant may reflect on the content of the programme (focused on the issues that concern most customers) and methodology (highlighting methods pro medium from which the participants improve their capacity to solve problems and other techniques). The reports of consultants provide a wealth of background material that can be used in classrooms as case studies, practical exercises, simulation of business management, checklists, games exercises resolution of cases, etc.
In the same way that the training is an essential consultant intervention technique, consultancy is very important for the professional trainer. Even if their primary function is not the advice, centres and institutes of management improvement are increasingly more interested in performing certain tasks of consulting related to the programs of training. This is necessary for the aforementioned reasons: Base training mostly on practical experience and focus it on issues considered priority by professionals. In addition, in many situations the training is not enough: the participants should acquire new ideas and learn some new techniques, but need more help if they have to start applying what they have learned. Training workshops geared towards problem solving can be used so that participating directors who know some effective method of consulting put revealed problems that need to be resolved and their interest in working with a consultant once finished workshop or seminar. Improvement of management institutions, therefore, encourage to its teaching staff carry out consultative tasks and different arrangements of work to make this possible. It is clear that in these situations the trainers should be also relevant in consulting techniques.

Consulting and research

Many of the consultants of the previous generation it was pleased them regarded as professional pilots, equipped with basic knowledge that had nothing in common with the researchers. However, this dichotomy reflected a little theoretical preparation of the consultant and a lack of practical purposes by the majority of the theorists, rather than a background conflict between the approach of consulting and research. In fact, despite their differences research and consultancy have much in common and mutually useful services can be provided.
Some factors that differentiate the consulting and research
FACTOR RESEARCH CONSULTING
PROBLEM Part of a need for the researcher and society is open. Conceived by the customer sometimes on shared basis.
TIME Flexible Adjusted, more rigid
RESULT New knowledge and technologies, you can include innovation or application practice Improvements in the practices of organizational management and results
PROPERTY
GIVE THE INFORMATION
Normally published with the permission of the interested Often confidential, use the customer decides
DECISIONS They can be modified at the discretion of the investigator according to plans The changes decides the customer and is limited to the essential task
ACADEMIC RIGOR High and very tight methodologically The minimum required to solve the problem
EVALUATION External; by the scientific community and governing bodies Internal; by the client organization

Addressing the practical problems of the direction or management, consultants have released the results of investigations to look for them. Before recommending a technique to encourage, for example, it is better to know if there has been any research on the use of this technique in arrangements similar to the client. Consulting organizations stimulate more and more its members not only to be informed about the published results of research on business administration, but also to be aware of the research projects underway and to know the principal investigators.
On the other hand, the research can only result benefited from a close relationship with the consulting. The data collected by the consultants in customer organizations may be useful for more extensive research. Data from various organizations can be used to obtain general conclusions on sectoral trends or other, without violating the confidentiality of the information. As a result, many consulting offices have been launched to research. It has a specific research program. Performs research on own and published books based on their own research or cooperate on research projects with universities and individual researchers. Some offices consulting conquered how solidly based on investigations. Commerce and business management schools and research institutes are increasingly more interested in to test and disseminate the results of their research through consulting work.
Methodologically, the consultants learn much from researchers and vice-versa. The research of process is an example of research on the boundary between two fields; two simultaneous objectives consist of solving an important practical problem and obtain new knowledge about the social system that is the subject of the study. Research on processes implies the change in what is being investigated, while this does not occur in conventional research.

Consulting and information

Provide information to the client is one of the main responsibilities of a consultant in each mission of consulting. In some cases this is the only or the main contribution expected of it; for example, if the customer has interest in comparing their levels of performance with other organizations, using data that can supply the consultant.
In fact, in many cases simply with the consultant to find and present information allowing the client reorient their work, a decision on investments or decide that you want to learn more about the organizations that get better results. The information itself may have much power and strongly influencing people interested and able to draw conclusions from it.
Consulting offices have at their disposal a tremendous flow of information and many have real experts in the collection and processing of data. Consulting offices are beginning to be regarded as specialized databases, and study new ways of working with the information and use it to provide other services to clients. This sector is currently developing very quickly. It includes various types of information services, regular or special, through which customers can learn about practical and theoretical developments in areas that are essentially for their companies.
This is useful for customers direct service and a source of new contacts. A client can extract new ideas of the information thus obtained and ask the consultant to explore them more thoroughly and what help you to put them into practice.

A balanced set of methods of intervention

Consultants tend to be pragmatic to decide what kind of services to provide customers. The formation is so closely linked to the consulting that, for the reasons and explained, all consultant carried out some training activity and is also a trainer. There are valid reasons also to relate the activities of research and information consulting. For example, a director who has a problem can choose to collect more information in this regard, attend a training program that will be studied more thoroughly the problem, or ask a consultant to help him solve it.
The practice-oriented training institutions considered its methods of work in a similar way. Even if its main sphere of activity is the formation and they wish to remain in it, they have difficulties to provide an effective training without some participation in consulting, research and information activities.
For this reason, the problem is not in either consulting or training, or other methods of professional help to the directors of the company, but to master and apply a well-balanced set of methods of intervention with imagination. This does not mean that they have to disappear the differences between consultants, trainers, researchers and other professionals in the management of companies and combine different methods of intervention in a way that is likely to produce an optimal effect for the benefit of the customer.

Change agent consultant

Fundamental features that require the consultant

He is considered that among the essential features that must meet a consultant the following are:
  1. Good physical and mental health.
  2. Professional ethics and courtesy.
  3. Stability of behavior and action and be example to imitate.
  4. Confidence itself.
  5. Efficiency and personal effectiveness, dynamism
  6. Integrity (quality that engenders trust).
  7. Independence.
  8. Intellectual competition.
  9. Correct judgement (be able to judge objectively).
  10. High capacity analysis or troubleshooting.
  11. Creative imagination (ability to see things under new perspectives
  12. Aptitude for interpersonal relationships, involving:
    • Orientation towards the human aspect of the problem.
    • Receptivity to information or new points of view put forward by others.
    • Ability to earn the trust and respect of the client organization's staff.
    • Ability to obtain the participation of the customer in the solution of problems.
    • Ability to transmit their knowledge to the staff of the organization customer.
    • Ability to apply the principles and techniques of a planned change.
    • Ability to depersonalize issues and teach to attack its causes and not to persons.
  13. Capacity to communicate and persuade custom (verbally or in writing, graphically).
  14. Psychological maturity.
  15. Skill as a mediator of conflicts
  16. Continuous self-learning ability.
In particular it notes that:
... unquestionable requirement that must be raised to the preparation of the consultant consists of possessing a wide erudition, i.e., in addition to the multifaceted knowledge and profound in a particular branch needed expertise in related areas .for that much frequency consultant graduated in two or three specialties.
Many consultants have experiences in the work of teaching developed by them in centres of higher education, as well as degrees and scientific titles.
Is necessary that not enough having deep theoretical knowledge, but "we... need practical experiences of concrete work."
On the above basis points at consulting firms generally do not work young specialists that dominate workers with many years of experience. More recent experiences, especially Cuban and of other countries, show that they can develop consultancy work properly combined relatively young staff with the greatest experiences, being necessary to establish ways suitable for the training of consultants.

The ethical aspects of the consultant.

It has been recognized that in the exercise of the consultancy, the consultant must observe a certain ethic . Among the rules of conduct that must be the ethics of the consultant we have.
  1. Modesty.
  2. Prove your competence without using tricks to impress.
  3. Working with organization and discipline.
  4. Do not use longer than required by the problem.
  5. Confidentiality.
  6. Capacity and patience to listen to the arguments of the personal consultant.
  7. Teaching to work without talking.
  8. Avoid confrontation with the personnel of the company, or between this and the territorial and upper body. rather, to act as a mediator in the conflict.
  9. Used the conviction and not imposing its criteria are accepted.
  10. Avoid the responsibility for decisions. The consultant must be an active promoter of change, responsibility for the realization of the Exchange is from the client.
  11. The solutions provided by the consultant should have a positive impact at the level of the national economy and not only on the client and should take into consideration the social and environmental effects arising out of them.
  12. Spirit of sacrifice and dedication to work.
  13. Be a bulwark of the fulfillment of the established laws and do not establish any recommendations involving adverse to the client, society or third parties.
  14. Be honest in the broadest sense of the word.
  15. Work with the spirit of win / win
Practice has shown that the transgression of any of the rules of conduct that must be the ethic of the consultant, slows down the process of change that is intended to promote and may even bring other implications that affect the image of the client, the consultant or other effects and even legal implications.

Some issues to consider for the consultants.

In the case of the intervention of consultants within the company, it should be borne in mind that the responsibility for the process of integration of the work team is own managers and that essential decisions should be made by them. The Mission of the consultant is concrete, then, to start and promote the process of integration, helping the group to review its progress and difficulties periodically; above all, to provide support to the formal leader until it is able to sustain the effort of integration with its own resources. Some of the most important functions performed by the consultants and in particular the processes listed below:
  • Create a climate of openness and an atmosphere of trust and respect to the individuality of the people at the heart of the work teams.
  • Help teams work to identify the obstacles preventing the achievement of the goals.
  • Promote problem-solving teamwork through the analysis of their causes and the generation of alternative solutions.
  • Promote and participate in the changes that are needed, as indicated by the analysis of the problems.
  • Review the concepts and values that are at stake during the implementation of changes.
  • Propose instruments that facilitate the realization of the actions of change.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the teams to identify, analyze and solve problems.
  • Educate the team to identify events organised in their internal dynamics and its interaction with other groups.
  • To follow up on actions completed and committed by the team to make changes; collaborate to support, never supervise.
  • Find the solution of the problems step by step without violating stages and induce this teams.
  • Work consciously on the formation and development of workers and managers in order to create a proper and permanent capacity for change and ensure the irreversibility of changes.
  • The consultant should also
Making managers understand that true experience they and their workers have it and are responsible for the change and its results and that they must lead them.
Demonstrate that the ideas and solutions are of the team and not their own, but acknowledge their partnership and responsibility.
Instill in all times mood and convey a spirit of winners.

The consultants at all costs avoid to fall in the following errors:

  • Suppose that the solution is in your hands, because that is in the hands of managers and workers in the organization.
  • Take too many responsibilities in critical aspects, are entrepreneurs and their teams who adopt and implement actions and their active participation should be encouraged.
  • Violating steps, "burning stages" in order to gain time or for another reason.
  • Using any information obtained without the authorization of the client.
  • Show defeat, impotence in situations or allow this to happen, we are not losers, the losers are doomed to lose.
It is necessary to clarify that not only persons with specific capacity, as in the case of consultants, can be designated functions "but also men and ordinary women often work as agents of change. All us we are, often, duty to give support or the opportunity of receiving it". The basic idea is that all are in one way or other consultants and are prepared to do so and especially anyone who work on the staff of the organization.
Accordingly, individuals who act as consultants, to provide effective support in the planning and implementation of changes, must be prepared to periodically check your person based on the following needs:
  • Deepen the knowledge of himself: the consultant must be willing to confront the image that has of itself, even its potentials and limitations, with the image that reflects him the equipment with which to work.
  • Interact with others and to understand the situation of these: means to establish a characteristic type of relationship deep and significant others to understand the circumstances of each person and of the equipment within the work environment. It means to feel the world of others as if it were their own, without losing the possibility of analyzing with objectivity.
  • Listen and observe the phenomena of teams: refers to the willingness to focus attention on what is happening in the dynamics of the work teams in such a way that through the action of listening will capture the meaning and implications of the communication and understanding through observation of group behavior. This attitude of listening required to draw attention to the needs and resources of members of the team to respond to the demands of them and not their own.
  • Giving and receiving feedback: is willing to communicate to people and groups the observations derived from their behavior to orient them towards the achievement of their goals. At the same time, it is to be open to information regarding their performance as a consultant.
  • Handle ambiguity and frustration: is related to the ability to accept the contradictions and limitations. For this reason, the consultant will be aware that in any action of development there is always the risk that the results do not correspond to expectations although they can respond to the needs of the members of the team.
It is important to note that the consultant can acquire and develop these characteristics through a process of constant updating of their knowledge, skills and attitudes, and through his experience at work.
All these qualities and capabilities form the profile of the ideal consultant, goal difficult to reach, but which serve for each consultant, according to their ability, style and circumstances, identify those that need to develop.
Published for educational purposes
Concepts of Leadership and Marketing

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