Finding the right business transformation partner
6 questions that will help you find the right business transformation partner
People make change happen. Or more importantly, the right people. One of the barriers to starting a business transformation can be the associated risk. And the first risk, is choosing the wrong people to help you make it happen.
For some clients we’re the right choice, for others we are not.
Here are six questions you should always ask any change management consultancy, whether they’re small and agile or a global consulting brand.
Q1. Can you show me a piece of work like this that you’ve done before?
A lot of change consulting is confidential for a reason because it’s fixing a problem or mitigating a potential financial or reputational risk. But as well as case studies, your consultancy should also be able to share some relevant example outputs on a video call, and what they choose to show you, and how they present that, will help you understand their approach. Is it a 50-slide PowerPoint of general models or does it look like something you and your team would actually use?
Q2. Can I meet more of the team I would be working with and hear their opinion?
All too often the person selling isn’t the person doing. There is often good reason for that – the best “doers” don’t really like selling! It’s important that your change team bring a range of skills and it feels like a “team” you want to work with – not just one person. Since the doers are billing for other clients, you might not get them all to visit your premises but a quick video call to gauge their individual views on a specific issue will show you what you’re getting and also whether they can work together as a team.
Q3. What proportion of your company’s overall turnover comes from change management consulting? What other revenue streams do you have?
This is important. Change management is not easy and you want specialists. Even the more junior people on the team need to have an aptitude for this specific type of work and this is by far the biggest benefit of choosing a specialist change consultancy over a broader business consultancy. If the percentage of revenue from this part of their business is less than 20%, then what else are they hoping to sell you once they have a foot in the door?
Q4. Who will take the day-to-day decisions on our project? Do they have to authorise anything with you?
Whoever you hire should be there to speed up decisions, not slow them down awaiting sign off from their own boss. Their focus should be on engaging your stakeholder not theirs. Ask about how project governance is usually set up for a project like yours and give them a couple of likely scenarios so they can tell you how they’d deal with them.
Q5. How do you decide what to charge us and how does that compare?
You don’t want to pay for what you don’t need or fork out double the rate for the same job to cover someone else’s overheads. Equally you don’t want false savings or additional charges that crop up unexpectedly. A change programme should give you access to different types of resources at different stage of the programme, and asking about the structure of the fees, and the rationale behind that, is often as important as the actual cost.
Q6. How long have each of the employees who might be on my project worked for you?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having some new hires or graduates on your team – they bring a fresh perspective. However, it is useful to make sure that your project isn’t a stepping stone just for someone’s development. One of the benefits of hiring some external specialist change professionals to help you land your project, should be the opportunity for some of your employees to develop by learning from them. Not the other way around!