Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Top Consultant: Developing Your Skills For Greater Effectiveness

This week I've just cleared two books. First book that I need to share with you is
"The Top Consultant: Developing Your Skills For Greater Effectiveness", 4th Edition
by Calvert Markham ISBN:0749442530 Kogan Page © 2004.

Markham defines consultancy as a 'delivering specialist skills from outside the organization' means the consultant has specific skill that needed by the client and the consultant normally is not on the same organization or if it's in same company it will be different department. Organization need consultant to bring objectivity, minimized the risk and also learn from the expert. The role of consultant have evolved in 30 years from deliver experience of practice to identify and address organizational issue. And these are the consultancy skill that consultant must have:
- The body of knowledge, skill and experience
- Experience or knowledge of the application of the specialist skill in specific area
- Consultancy skill to deliver the expertise

Consultancy activities can be consider as a product which value is added to the client. Markham quote Ralph Waldo 'If a man... make a better mousetrap than his neighbour, tho' he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.' Which means even you have very good expertise but if nobody know, you can't sell it. I won't go deep in marketing content of this book as I'm a technical guy :P

In the chapter 6 explain about consultancy problem solving as the challenge of consultant are to make right boundary. Without it, project won't be effective. To get whole picture, consultant need to engage with top management for strategy, middle management for process and junior staff for the action. Markham highlight about preconceptions between consultant and client is very important . Here is the diagram for problem solving approach :

Use creative thinking to generate hypotheses <-|
Select which to investigate |
Identify the data you need to verify |
Collect the data |
Analyse the data ------------------------------|
Arrive at conclusions

On the last chapter explain about managing client relationship. Good relationship to customer will help sales and it have to be managed.


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