Common to both is that strategy remains an underestimated skill with many executives believing they and their team should be able guide their company to growth and prosperity; and, secondly, even the best strategy in the world is worthless if it can't be implemented.
Regarding the first point, senior executives and their teams should be able to develop strategies for their companies. However, the reality is they are often so enveloped in the operation side of their businesses that strategy is a rushed afterthought confined to annual strategy sessions where outdated strategic tools and methodologies are often badly implemented.
Strategy should be constantly evolving and adapting to realities of the socio-economic environment. This requires the dedication of time and thought, observation and adaptation: the domain and value add of the strategy consultant.
The second problem facing the sale / purchase of strategy is one of implementation. Even the most successful strategy consultancies have learnt that a deck of impressive strategic insight means little to the client if it is not implemented and managed properly.
To address this many strategy consultancies are offering implementation. However, if there were concerns about executives and managers not being able to devise strategy for their own companies there will be more about the inability to implement it.
Against this backdrop a viable offering for strategic consulting lies in what I term in skills transfer I consulting. The vertical separator between skills skills transfer and consulting is important: this is not about consulting how to transfer skills. Rather it is the parallel and simultaneous acts of delivering a solution to a challenge and/or opportunity and training the client in the development and implementation of that solution.
The skills transfer | consulting process starts with assembling the internal team that client would choose to tackle the challenge at hand. Into this team a small group of senior consultants are embedded to work with the team to fully define the challenge and sketch the outline of the solution.
The output of this initial stage to two-fold: a project plan to develop and implement a strategic solution to the challenge as well as a plan to impart skills the client team / specific individuals require to develop and implement the strategy.
The end result is a win-win situation for the client. A strategic solution to the challenge and/or opportunity facing the brand, and an up-skilled team that a) understands how the strategy was arrived at, b) can implement and refine the strategy, and c) and tackle similar projects on their own in the future.
The future of strategic consulting is far less about telling and more about teaching.