Here’s a question that consultants get a lot:
“Can you build a leadership program for us?”
And on the flip side, here’s a question that consultants don’t usually ask in return:
While you absolutely need to know the answer to your client’s “why,” asking the question curtly can seem uncouth.
So instead, consultants tend to just respond: “Yes.”
What if we started asking our clients exactly what they were looking for in a leadership development program?
What if we sought to understand the real motivations behind the establishment of the program?
“Why” is a simple question, but if you ask it, one of two things will happen:
(1) your client will illuminate you on the business case for the investment in their people. Sadly, option number one doesn’t happen often.
Usually, you’ll get option (2): the client will simply tell you their people have potential, and they want to retain them.
On the bright side, when you’re given the second answer, there is an opportunity to dig deeper and begin to understand the business case behind your client’s leadership development program.
Once you understand the business case for the program, you can skip through the “hurry up and wait” of the client’s industry.
What is the “hurry up and wait?”
It’s the tendency of any client to say, “sure, we need a leadership program, but in terms of our broader strategic priorities, this program can wait.”
When a recession (or global pandemic) comes along, consultants who haven’t grasped the client’s business case can see their programs put on the back burner, and their businesses come to a screeching halt.
On the other hand, consultants who are able to connect to C-suite priorities and demonstrate their value are recession-proof.
If you can show exactly how your program impacts pressing strategic priorities, you’ll keep your business moving along every time.
Instead of measuring programs based solely on participant satisfaction or knowledge retention, consultants can focus on ROI, behavior change, business impact, and the reflection of their programs on the clients’ bottom lines.
Proving your impact as a consultant is possible.
It starts with connecting with your clients to understand their original business objectives and the pillars of their strategic plan – be it this quarter, this year, or over the next few years.
Once you’ve grasped their goals, communicate with them: let them know that in order to obtain something different than they have in the past, they need to develop new competencies and cultural norms.
Clients can either buy competencies or build them; with your program, you can organically build them together.
Demonstrating how your programs create competencies and reach business objectives is achievable with Actionable: a powerful tool that helps consultants bridge the gap between what they know they can do for their clients and what their programs are worth.
Actionable is on a mission to help boutique consultancies scale their business by giving them the tools to prove and amplify their impact.
If you’re interested in focusing on impact, we’d love to show you how we can help. Book a time to talk with us.
We can’t wait to meet you.