Steve Shu's Blog



Secret Techniques to Overcoming Obstacles as a Manager or Consultant

Over the years, I have had to opportunity to manage different groups and perhaps more importantly observe how different managers and consultants face obstacles. Often these techniques for addressing obstacles are passed down through mentorship or peer exchanges, and as such, these techniques are less documented. Here are some of the techniques that come to mind and are especially more common in entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial situations:

How My Father and Fatherhood Have Transformed Me as a Professional

On this Father’s Day, I wanted to give a short tribute to my dad, and reflect on his professional influence on me. My father is a great man. He received an education in electrical engineering, served in the U.S. Army, been involved in numerous industrial and technology companies around the world, started a number of entrepreneurial ventures, had two kids with my mom (myself and my brother), been successfully married for more than forty years, supported numerous workers and business partners, and managed to stay energized and reasonably healthy to date.

Eight Secret Weapons of the Modern Consultant

Although I’ve developed a number of blog posts addressing the practice of management consulting, I have spent little time tying things together into a framework of secret

What To Do When Your Professional Services Organization Is Not Professional Enough

In helping companies develop, tune-up, or reboot their professional services organizations, here are some example of complaints I’ve heard that reflect the need for change:

Management Consulting Manifesto

Got an idea from Dan Wallace (Twitter handle: @Ideafood) to write a manifesto (link to some other examples here). As many regular readers may know, I am pretty passionate about the practice of business and management consulting. Without further ado, here is a working draft of my management consulting manifesto:

How To Make Project Closure and Client-Consultant Transitions Smooth

Eventually projects with consultants come to an end. Similar to completion of a good run as an employee of a firm, feelings at the end of a consulting project can be bittersweet. For me, the sweetness of successfully completing a project feels great, while the end of the day-to-day, close working relationship with the client can make one reflect for a moment longer.

Over the years through consulting mentors, peers, and personal experience, I’ve learned of some tricks to making transitions smoother for both clients and consultants. Here are some:

Special Discussion on Starting Consulting Services Organizations Within Product Companies

When people think about consultants, they often think about those that work for companies like McKinsey, Accenture, Deloitte, etc. These are companies that are essentially independent from product vendors. However, there are a number of companies that provide consulting or professional services as part of product companies (e.g., companies like Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, Ericsson, IBM) that may sell things like hardware or software.

Business Development Chronicles – The Story of Us (Doesn’t Have to End in Tragedy)

It’s a tale of Big Company and Small Company.

Big Company likes Small Company’s:

  • focus and style
  • entrepreneurial attitude and skills.

Small Company likes Big Company’s:

  • scale of resources
  • scope and number of customers.

Big Company hates thing like:

What I’ve Learned From Buyers of Management Consulting Services

Many blog posts and articles address when to use management consultants versus not. Some argue that using consultants for strategy development intimate incompetence by management (example here). Others argue that consultants should be used in cases when expertise is higher than that of existing employees.

Facilitation Technique: “Painting the Ends of the Spectrum”

While I don’t often write about leadership, management, and consulting “techniques”, there’s one that I wanted to share as I’ve found it useful when facilitating a diverse group of folks. I call it “painting the ends of the spectrum”, although I’m sure there other varieties and names for this approach.

Here are a couple of examples of “painting the ends of the spectrum”: