This article discusses the use of consultants in helping set business strategy. Starting with the perspective that many consultants end up not delivering good value for companies seeking help with their strategy, this article considers some of the causes of unfulfilled expectations and what companies can do to get better value from consultants when they need external support.
The author draws lessons from his own experience with hundreds of strategy consulting engagements and from interviews with other consultants and senior corporate executives who have extensive experience of strategy consulting projects.
Findings and recommendations are divided into four categories: defining the project; selecting a firm; managing the process; and getting value after the consultants have left.
The key message of this article is that use business consultants can be a valuable addition to the range of resources available to executives with responsibility for business strategy. Executives need to be realistic about where and how consultants can add most value. They also need to recognize that achieving success from consulting projects is a shared responsibility, requiring diligent efforts from the consultant but also close attention from the corporation to ensure appropriate project scoping, firm selection, process monitoring and outcomes management.
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