As a consultant, you are sometimes called in to look over business’ existing well oiled processes and are tasked with coming up with a better solution. This is known as disruption consulting. You are being pulled into a situation where the status-quo isn’t currently working and you are being asked to come up with and execute a better solution. While it’s the best choice for many businesses, disruption consulting is going to ruffle some feathers and as a consultant you had better know what you are doing.
When you begin reworking the status quo, and claim to be offering a superior process or solution, you are going to be measured and evaluated. Your reputation as a consultant is on the line. How will you hold up? First, you have to consider that change is hard. Once a business has a system in place, they will often work hard to defend that system and try to make it work. It is more comfortable for organizations to try to maintain the status quo than to rework it. It’s not that businesses don’t understand that processes could be better and smoother with change –it’s that uncertainty can be intimidating.
Relearning a process, system or skill is daunting. Consider those who have been with that company for many years or those who may have helped established the status quo in the first place. This is going to be a disruption. Your job as a consultant is to make sure that your new solution is superior and can be executed in a way that people will understand.
As consultants, it is one of our main jobs to disrupt the status quo and to bring necessary change into an organization. While you may be an expert in your field, you are not an expert at that company. It’s a good idea to put together a team that has insider knowledge of the way the company works. This way you can put together a solution for the previous issues while making sure that you address the companies’ specific needs and concerns. This is also a good way to gain trust and backing behind your ideas. A bird’s eye perspective, coupled with inside knowledge of a business is a great way to come up with a fresh take on an existing problem.
When you can look at how a process has broken down, while bringing your own expertise to the issue, you can build a solution from the ground up that is tailor made to an organization. You are being hired on for disruption. You just have to consider that the way you execute that disruption is being heavily judged. So tread cautiously and be thorough in your research into the business’ needs and existing problems.
At the end of the day, success for your client translates into success for you as a consultant. What is your opinion on reworking the status quo as a consultant? What should the initial approach be? Comment below!