5 criteria to spot the right change manager
While there’s a lot of self-proclaimed prime strategists out there in the management consulting industry, only few of them really are. And a time-consuming quest for those needles in the haystack isn’t exactly what you’re up for when your company needs close attention – now, not later. So to speed up your search, here’s what to look for:
THEY HAVE A LONG, GROWING LIST OF CLIENTS.
It clearly shows others have trusted them before so you don’t need to be one of their first (or even worse: first ever) experimental object. It also shows their experience: it’s one thing to know the theory and yet another to apply it. If done properly, the list of satisfied clients won’t be static but keeps growing.
THEY HAVE IMPRESSIVE REFERENCES.
Ever came across one of those typical lame endorsements saying -in essence- nothing really substantial yet rather recycling old phrases that sound, at best, boring. Therefore, here’s a list of the 3 main factors any quality endorsement inherits:
- They are emotional. (Which shows clients really were happy having had them.)
- They are from leaders. (CxOs, VPs – anyone with overarching responsibility.)
- They are signed. (Which makes them legally binding and thus safer to trust.)
THEY ARE OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED.
When you buy food, how often have you caught yourself watching out for attributes such as “organic” etc. signaling safety, health, reliability? Reliability is the foundation for trust. That’s what it all starts with. Similarly, certifications might sound odd for management consulting, but it had to come like that in an industry where you’d recently find more and more phrases like “Look no further, we’re the best – and the only ones (of course)”, yet with no substantial proof. Once it gets to this point, the bedazzled customer wants clarity over whom to trust to make educated, informed decisions. A certification from an official institution is a good start.
THEY ARE INTERNATIONALLY ACCREDITED.
Certifications can be tricky: Who certified whom and on which grounds? Is the certification institution internationally accredited or has it not managed to be recognized globally – and if so, why’s that? Isn’t it able enough to fulfill certain standards which should be expected from someone calling himself an expert? Should you hear someone saying the certification process is “too expensive”, ask yourself what this consultant might earn to consider a certification “expensive”. How successful could he possibly be?
THEY HAVE THE GUTS TO SHOW THEIR PRICES.
It took many decades for the industry to realize clients are proactive participants of information society, combining academic foundations with practical management know-how and a steep, never ending learning curve through constant further education; they are well-informed and thus require experts who can bring in added knowledge, better, newer, alternative methods to tackle organizational dynamics, especially in times of major change. Thus, a new breed of management consultants does what has rarely been done by generations before (who did so just in order to keep the exclusiveness and, in particular, the “myth” around management consulting alive): They publish their rates.
- Does that make them more comparable? No: Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good vice versa.
- Does it help you calculate your project costs? Yes: Clarity up front. No surprises.
Considering these 5 attributes in your quest for the right expert will significantly shorten your search period, save you a lot(!) of money and spare your nerves. While that means hard times ahead for the consulting industry, it is to everyone’s benefit that it is the informed customer himself who will regulate this industry by applying & exerting direct market modelling force over purchasing power. This, in turn, will wash away unserious players and regain this industry the very trust and market confidence it deserves.
About the author:
Thomas Pacal is the CEO, founder & owner of EMBRACE – a management consultancy specializing in post-M&A change management, restructuring and re-stabilizing of large organizations. He is passionate about the reliability of change and frequently contributes articles about his industry.