What Is Management Consulting?
Management Consulting means many things to different people. Indeed, the responses are as numerous as the situations themselves. For some, it's specific counseling for a particular project or contemplated course of action. For others, it's to enable the organization to run more cost-effectively. Or market positioning with increasing sales. Or enhancing the employee relationship. It's all of these, and more.
If we were asked to think of businesses that are extraordinarily well run, each of us would have specific companies that come to mind having, as it were, the "buzz" surrounding it, where everyone associated with the organization, both employees and customers alike, look forward to arriving at that establishment to spend time there. Locally to us, Publix comes to mind. As does Costco. And the successes of these companies are not accidental; it's the very determined action of doing many little things right.
- Publix, for instance, instructs their employees that if asked for a particular product, not to simply point and refer the customer to a respective aisle number, but to walk that client to that aisle, and directly indicate the product.
- At Disney, for another example, if one were to ask where they might purchase a bottle of water, they would always be directed with two or three fingers pointing, never with only one. And often, as soon as the patron turns away, the employee will radio ahead ("man and woman, blue jacket") so that, on their arrival, that vendor is waiting for them with a bottle and a smile. It's all about the experience. And it's all about feeling valued.
Now most businesses understand this, at least in principle. So why are there so few companies with the buzz? Running a business is one of the hardest challenges today: An extraordinary number of moving parts—with the failure of any one of them causing that last little bit of profit margin to dissipate. Customers, employees, vendors, regulations, neighbors, taxes, payroll, and on and on. Moreover, almost every single one of us has, by very nature, some blind spot. One where, in our most quiet, pulled-aside moments, a good friend would come to us and say, "listen, you're missing something here." Yet we also understand that it's tough to see everything clearly when you're up to your waist in alligators. Simply said, and paraphrasing Proverbs, in the multitude of counselors, does one make a wise decision.
And this is where we come in. With an objective outside eye, we will often easily spot something that would be highly beneficial to you, and easy to implement. Usually something that you yourself will then remark, "That's a great idea." --Perspective. Perhaps, if there were a single word to best answer the question, "What is management consulting?", that would be it: perspective.
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