The new dynamics of co-working have led to a paradigm shift in the consulting sector: from an “expert” model, with consultants purporting to teach their clients about their own industries, to a “catalyst” model whereby consultants help their clients – the true experts – to find their own solutions. Explanations.
Defining the role of a consultant
In an ideal world, a consultant helps a company's employees to come up with solutions and strategies by providing them with valuable structure and feedback. Unfortunately, consulting has long been seen as a way for decision-makers to abdicate responsibility. They used consultants to outsource in-depth reflection and to be able to include a prestigious logo on company reports in a bid to please shareholders. After the financial crisis of 2008, consulting expenses were treated the same as other expenses: the created added value was compared to the received invoice. Under these circumstances, publishing a 100-page document full of market research is no longer sufficiently convincing. It’s better to publish a specific “one pager” or a report of a dozen pages, addressing the problem and detailing the solution to be implemented. Given the modern-day focus on “getting things done” and “co-working”, consultants must review their way of working.
"The consultant must maintain his/her role as a catalyst for ideas and solutions."
Consulting: how to
Remembering at all times that the company's employees are the experts remains the golden rule. The consultant must maintain his/her role, focused on consolidating ideas, thereby enabling employees to capitalise on their experience and knowledge of the company to come up with the best solutions. The consultant provides a methodology and helps the team to implement the best possible governance. By setting the right objectives and choosing the best performance indicators, the consultant creates the required conditions to instigate a positive dynamic of change.
Three situations which signal a need to choose consulting services which reflect the new era in which we’re all working. 1. If you’ve been working on a project for several months and no medium-term solution can be found. 2. If you’ve spent weeks discussing a project with a provider who constantly comes up with ideas and proposals which aren’t what you’re looking for. 3. If your company develops a meeting culture - with or without consultants - without establishing solution delivery deadlines or KPIs. In all three cases, the right consultants can break the deadlock by helping your experts to come up with a solution. 360Crossmedia has organised successful three-hour and one-day workshops for the last ten years, for a diverse range of companies in law, insurance, IT, industry and finance. Yet none of its consultants are lawyers, insurers or IT specialists. QED.