Fashionable or it is vitally necessary?


Anna Marko, partner of “GPI Company”, advises for entrepreneurs when choosing a consultant to evaluate not only his portfolio, but also his competence, professionalism and willingness to bear joint responsibility for the result.

–  Today, a lot is said about consulting in Kazakhstan. Some companies loudly declare their victories and endeavors, and for others the experience of attracting external experts proved to be ineffective. What is the secret of success of the tandem between the customer and the consultant?-       
— You correctly noted, the customer and the consultant is, first of all, the team with a common goal: to make the customer’s business more successful. There is no miracle when someone else came to the company, and everything began to work more efficiently. There is a such thing as corporate culture, it can act as a driver, and an anchor for any change. The task of the consultant is to feel these features, integrate and form the most optimal and painless way for your client to transform the established habits.
Any project, whether increasing the efficiency of the process or launching a new product or service, is the result of the labor of a huge number of company employees. The success of the project depends on how transparent and structured the process of interaction between participants will be. It must be acknowledged that not all ideas are real after detailed elaboration are so good as they were seen at the beginning, and you need to have the courage to correct them or even refuse them altogether. The task of the right consultant is to help make a balanced management decision and choose the shortest and right way to achieve the goal.

– You say that most of the responsibility for the result is still on the customer, and not on the consultant?
– We must be partners, therefore, and share responsibility equally. The consultant provides diagnostics, develops new solutions and teaches the team, but to turn the new into a habit is, of course, the task of the customer himself.
What does take place when the consulant realize the project and leaves? The customer company has two ways. The first is compliance with the developed standards at the government levels. Thus, a new habit is formed and the chance on achievement that was planned. This way is difficult emotionally. It is necessary to survive a wave of sabotage and temporary slowing of the operational work, but very soon the first results will appear. For example, at the end of the day, electronic workflow will be fully operational orreports will contain not just statistics, but also a detailed analysis with solutions and descriptions of risks.
But there is another way – without even trying to work in a new way, not to use the developed standards in operating activities and to violate the company’s approved management model. Very often, when a consultant leaves, there is a row of requirements which are key for success of project. Personnel changes, principles of delegation of authority, quality of control and so on – these are the important moments that are so difficult to change. We always insist in this connection, that in projects a top-management participated on changes — understood and accepted the new rules of game.
Also our company offers a free service of audit of the project results, which we have jointly completed. We protect our reputation, and it is important for us that our client is as satisfied as possible with the effect obtained. Three months after the completion of the project, our experts return to the client and assess the effectiveness of the result. The audit report is presented in two sections: first – identified violations and risk assessment; the second is a plan of measures for further development. This kind of service significantly improves the quality of the obtained result and allows achieving key indicators of efficiency.

— What would you recommend to companies which intend to attract the consultants?
— First of all, it should be a conscious decision, and not a fad. The company should be ready to talk openly about its problems and actively participate in changes. Top management should demonstrate its interest in development through its decisions and actions.
In order to choose the right consultant, you need to estimate not only his portfolio, but also his competence, professionalism and willingness to share responsibility for the result. It is important that experts who will have your project have practical experience in implementing their skills and understand how this or that tool works, not only in theory, but also in practice. And also pay attention to the approaches and methods of the consultant: as usually consulting services have standard character, accordingly, standard solutions, not adapted under the features of company-customer, will be offered.

Due to the materials: “EXPERT Kazakhstan”

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