How Do Management Consultants Think?
Management consulting is a popular industry that helps business organizations improve their performance. Many businesses seek the services of consultants as external advisors. A management consultant’s main role is to assess a company’s areas of opportunity, recommend strategic plans, and implement change to achieve desired growth and development.
Consultant’s approach problems with a different perspective than other professionals. They are hired to find the answers to seemingly unsolvable problems. So how do they do it? What goes on in a consultant’s mind?
Data is Useless Unless it Tells a Story
Data that can’t convey a story is irrelevant. That’s why consulting firms spend a generous amount of time researching and analyzing documents. Consultants are obsessed with finding valuable information from data that can be used to transform their client’s current situation. A good consultant has a natural instinct for discovering the story behind any given data. He or she recognizes that facts and statistics are not just numbers, but represent various outcomes to different situations.
Everything is Much Simpler Broken Down
Consultants perceive business operations as a series of steps, which can be broken down into subcomponents. They use diagrams and flowcharts to define the subcomponents and solve the problem.
Listening Skills are Vital
Consulting skills include more than knowledge and experience. To be successful, learning to be an active listener is a must. Consultants recognize that listening skills are vital in accumulating useful information. It is through effective listening that one can encourage others to talk freely. And the information shared by different people can contribute to more productive results.
The ability to hear and genuinely understand concerns and connect with people on a personal level is a powerful tool. A good listener knows how to present an idea in a way that will lead to successful project implementation.
Team Effort Leads to Desired Results
Ideally, a consultant has a thorough knowledge about the industry upon which to base decisions that will benefit a company. However, this does not mean that an expert should not be referred to for additional ideas. Consultants know that team effort is a vital element of any successful project. Establishing a collaborative relationship with team members is key to achieving the end goal. Good consultants are open to learning from their peers; they value the input and expertise of other professionals. Engaging and involving employees makes the consulting process much easier.
“I Don’t Know” Should Never be the Answer
Management consultants are expected to possess a high level of knowledge about various industries and never answer a question with, “I don’t know.” Those three words could harm their reputation and the prestige of their firm. Their minds are trained to find solutions. That’s why consultants continually expand their knowledge through informative materials and networking with colleagues.
However, it is also true that no one knows everything—even the most experienced consultant. “I don’t know” is still not an acceptable answer. Instead, a good consultant will say “I don’t know, but I know someone who does.” This conveys a genuine intention to find a solution to the problem.
Logic Has Nothing to Do with Numbers
Management consulting is known to attract analytical thinkers. But consultants recognize that logic does not mean solving quantitative problems. Aspiring consultants need not have a degree in science, economics, or other quantitative subjects. While these backgrounds can serve as an advantage, they do not guarantee success.
Logic is all about thought processes—how to approach and solve a problem. Other professionals like lawyers, linguists, and historians are analytical thinkers as well, but their ideas and hypotheses are not grounded merely on quantitative elements.
Analytical thinkers can process any piece of information; however, consultants must be able to analyze a large amount of data and develop viable solutions to complicated problems.
Management consultants are an invaluable asset to any organization. Their deep insights and revolutionary solutions play a big role in the success of a business. Management consulting has definitely pushed the business sector and the economy to greater heights.