5 Ways to Get the Best from Your Internal Consultants

por | maio 2, 2024

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In the swiftly evolving world of business consultancy, a significant trend is reshaping the landscape: the rise of internal consulting, transformation teams, and excellence groups within client organizations. This movement marks a departure from the traditional reliance on external consultants, reflecting a dynamic shift towards harnessing in-house expertise for addressing recurring consulting needs.

Not too long ago, the pendulum swung decidedly in favor of external consultants, with some companies even outsourcing their entire strategy formulation to consulting firms. However, the winds of change are blowing.

The once-pronounced experience gap between external consultancies and internal consulting teams on strategic matters is narrowing. Today, internal consultants emerge as formidable contenders, offering an alternative that fuels healthy competition, pushing both internal and external groups towards delivering their best work.

Bill Bradley’s wisdom that “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to improve” resonates deeply in this context. Internal consulting teams are not just an operational choice; they represent a strategic asset capable of unlocking new levels of performance and insight within an organization.

These teams offer a deep dive into the intricacies of business processes, identifying bottlenecks and project derailments and providing a fresh perspective on stagnant areas of the business.

Equally, external consultants bring their own advantages, introducing diverse perspectives and specialized expertise that might not be available internally. The crux of making the most out of consulting services lies in understanding when, where, and how to judiciously deploy internal versus external resources.

1. Building an Effective Internal Consulting Group

Setting the stage for excellence within your organization begins with a keen eye on the future. Imagine peering through the strategic lens at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the next 3 to 5 years. This foresight allows you to pinpoint the recurring needs for consulting services that will inevitably arise as you navigate towards your long-term goals.

This is where the concept of an Grupo de Consultoria Interna shines, offering a sustainable solution to meet these needs from within consistently. Yet, laying the groundwork for such a group involves more than just a decision; it’s about crafting a roadmap for success.

Expertise as the Foundation

Every successful internal consulting team stands on the bedrock of a clear value proposition. This means defining the sphere of their expertise with precision—identifying the areas where they can make the most significant impact and, equally important, acknowledging the limits of their scope.It’s about striking the perfect balance between flexibility and focus, ensuring the team is primed to deliver where it counts.

Demonstrating Value

The journey doesn’t end with setting up a team. The real challenge lies in proving its worth. An internal consulting group must earn its stripes by delivering impactful results and distinguishing itself as a catalyst for positive organizational change.

The aim is to win projects not by mandate but through merit, showcasing superior value that resonates across the board. It’s a delicate dance; forcing the hand of internal clients to engage the group can backfire, leading to resistance and, ultimately, undermining the group’s effectiveness.

Sustainability Through Value

Sustainability is key. An internal consulting group that relies solely on initial corporate funding faces a precarious future. The group must evolve to sustain itself financially by demonstrating undeniable value to its internal clients, compelling enough to justify its investment. This self-funding model ensures the group’s longevity, making it an indispensable part of the organization’s ecosystem.

2. Always Working with the Best

Crafting the perfect consulting team for your project is a bit like concocting a gourmet dish—selecting the right ingredients for the best outcome. Whether choosing between internal and external consultants, the goal is always to work with the best. Here’s how to make those decisions, with a pinch of strategy and a dash of insight.

Consulting DNA: Matching Skills to Needs

Every consulting team, internal or external, has a unique blend of skills and experiences—its own Consulting DNA. This mix is shaped by the team’s formation, managerial guidance, and project history. Recognizing this DNA is crucial; it tells you what the team is genuinely good at.

Imagine you’ve built an internal team to streamline manufacturing processes. They’re wizards in operational efficiency but might not be the best fit for, say, a high-stakes strategy overhaul. It’s about aligning your project’s needs with the team’s strengths. Deploying your internal team outside their comfort zone is a gamble—sometimes, it’s better to bring in external specialists.

Selecting the Right Consultants

Project Fit: Beyond skills and experience, consider how well the consultant fits with the project’s context and objectives. An internal team might navigate the company culture more smoothly, but external consultants can offer a fresh perspective unburdened by internal politics.

The aftermath matters. Internal consultants will continue to be part of your organization post-project. How they handle implementing tough decisions can affect long-term internal relationships. External consultants, with their ability to provide unbiased advice and exit post-engagement, might sometimes be a safer bet for sensitive projects.

The Make-or-Buy Decision

Why not have the best of both worlds? Put your internal consulting group in direct competition with external firms for certain projects. This not only sharpens the internal team’s skills but also showcases their value across the organization.

This strategy serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it motivates your internal team to elevate their game. Secondly, it helps internal stakeholders appreciate the unique value the internal consulting group brings to the table, fostering a culture of trust and respect.

In essence, the decision to go internal or external isn’t black and white. It’s about understanding the unique Consulting DNA of your available teams, aligning that with your project needs, and occasionally stirring the pot with a bit of healthy competition. It’s a strategic decision that, when made wisely, ensures you’re always working with the best team for the job.

3. Leverage Hybrid Teams

In the quest for achieving unparalleled excellence in project outcomes, sometimes blending the unique strengths of internal and external consultants into a hybrid team is the masterstroke strategy.

This approach not only harnesses the deep organizational knowledge and cultural alignment of internal teams but also taps into the fresh perspectives, specialized skills, and objective analysis external consultants bring to the table.

Embracing Competitive Collaboration

Imagine setting the stage for a competitive yet collaborative environment where internal consulting groups vie alongside external firms for projects. This not only sharpens the prowess of your internal team but also ensures that you’re aligning with the best resources available for the task at hand.

When suitable, such competition can lead to the formation of hybrid teams, embodying the essence of ‘the best of both worlds.’

The Power of Hybrid Teams

These hybrid squads, a fusion of internal insight and external expertise, are uniquely positioned to drive projects with unmatched efficiency and creativity. They optimize cost by blending in-house capabilities with the strategic acumen of external consultants, ensuring a high ROI on consulting spend.

Moreover, the collaborative exchange between internal and external members fosters a rich environment for knowledge transfer, elevating the skill sets of your in-house team for future challenges.

Leveraging Strengths for Maximum Impact

By strategically integrating the strengths of both internal and external consultants, organizations can navigate complex challenges with agility and precision. This synergy not only accelerates project timelines but also deepens the strategic impact, ensuring that each initiative is not just completed but transcended.

4. Hire Top Talents

The talent within your internal consulting team is the linchpin of your strategic capabilities. It’s widely acknowledged that consulting firms are veritable hives of brilliant, industrious minds. Debates about their ethics or relevance aside, their intellectual prowess is undeniable.

To elevate your internal consulting group to a competitive standard, it’s imperative to attract such caliber of talent—a task both challenging and costly amid the fierce talent war waged by consulting giants, tech behemoths, and startups alike.

However, internal consulting groups wield unique advantages in this battle for brains. They can offer a compelling proposition: a trajectory beyond the consulting grind, attractive compensation (minus the uncertainty of variable bonuses), and notably, a more balanced life.

The consulting industry’s struggle to retain women post-maternity is a case in point. The issue isn’t a lack of passion for their work; it’s the unsustainable demands it places on their personal lives.

Imagine promising the same intellectually stimulating work environment but with the added benefits of stability, fewer late nights, minimal weekend work, and less travel. Such an offer could not only level the playing field but potentially tilt it in your favor, particularly for those seeking a harmonious work-life blend.

In essence, crafting a robust internal consulting team hinges on offering what external firms often cannot—a chance to engage in challenging, rewarding work without sacrificing personal well-being and family life. It’s about building a team not just of smart and hardworking individuals but of people who see the value in what they do and where they do it.

This is how you transform your internal consulting group into a powerhouse that not only competes but excels.

5. Continuous Improvement is a Must

Excellence in consulting, both internal and external, hinges not just on delivering results but on cultivating a culture of continuous improvement. Ironically, the consulting industry itself often overlooks this principle.

Consultants are quick to advise organizations on the importance of iterative growth and feedback loops, yet they seldom apply these practices to their own operations. And let’s be honest: while we’re quick to critique their services, we seldom provide the structured feedback that could drive their evolution.

Performance Measurement is Key

To bridge this gap, there’s a critical need for regular performance measurement of projects, especially those spearheaded by internal consulting groups. This isn’t just about tallying successes or setbacks; it’s about genuinely assessing the impact and the level of client (internal or external) satisfaction. By establishing a robust system for evaluating project outcomes, organizations can pinpoint areas for skill enhancement and service refinement.

Creating a Feedback Ecosystem

Moreover, implementing feedback mechanisms is vital for all consultants, regardless of their affiliation with your organization. This practice allows you to compare the performance of internal teams against external providers directly, setting a benchmark for quality and fostering the credibility of your internal group.

This isn’t just about keeping score; it’s about creating a platform for growth and improvement. Constructive feedback, when given candidly, can transform the consulting engagement, making it a learning opportunity for all parties involved.

The Universal Benefits

This approach benefits everyone. For external consultants, it provides clear, actionable insights into how they can better meet your organization’s needs. For internal teams, it establishes a standard of excellence to aspire to.

And for the organization itself, it ensures better project outcomes, more productive relationships with consultants (even those not selected for a project), and a consulting team that’s continually striving to outdo itself.

Conclusion: Get the Best from Your Internal Consultants

As we wrap up our exploration into the world of internal consulting, let’s crystallize a key insight: internal consultants transcend being merely an alternative to external firms. They represent a strategic asset capable of dramatically amplifying organizational performance. This pivot from an either/or proposition to a both/and strategy transforms internal consulting into a dynamic, integral component of your broader strategic execution framework.

By strategically aligning internal consulting capabilities with organizational goals, managing talent effectively, and employing a disciplined approach to project selection and performance evaluation, companies can unlock the full potential of their internal teams.

Moreover, the judicious use of hybrid models—melding the strengths of internal consultants with the specialized expertise of external partners—can yield unmatched results, fostering an environment where continuous learning and adaptation flourish.

Far from a mere cost-saving measure, establishing an internal consulting group is a strategic chess move. It equips your organization with an additional, powerful tool in its arsenal, enhancing negotiation leverage, delivering potentially superior quality and insight on certain projects, and attracting talent that can profoundly impact the broader organization.

In essence, by embracing the strategic deployment of internal consultants, organizations not only expand their operational toolkit but also position themselves for heightened agility, deeper insights, and sustained competitive advantage in the ever-evolving business landscape.

5 Ways to Get the Best from Your Internal Consultants

Como a Consource pode ajudar?

Let recurso be your ultimate ally in building a high-performing internal consulting team. From conducting an initial spend analysis to comparing ROI with external consultants, consource can provide you with all the essential tools to track progress and ensure success. Let consource guide your internal group towards excellence.


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