Steve Shu's Blog
Recently I found myself in the doctor’s office seeking advice on a health issue I had been having with finger & joint pain. The way these conversations played out (with me in a reverse role as a client) triggered some thoughts about client-consultant communications that I thought I’d share here.
One technique that I tend to use a lot in management meetings and consulting engagements involves the use of two slide types. The purpose of these slides is often to help the management team get aligned and make a critical decision about some set of issues.
The first slide I call the "Seeding" slide. The second slide I call the "Facilitating" slide.
The introduction of new product or service lines into an existing customer base is a challenge that companies often face with new business development. Sometimes the opportunities can be readily quantified using traditional financial analysis (e.g., using net present value, scenario, and waterfall buildup methods). At other times, there may be hazards of trying to quantify an opportunity too early in the process before conceptual alignment of the stakeholders. For example, people can simply get stuck "in the weeds with the numbers".
In the past year I ran into a situation (mid-project in the capacity as an independent consultant) where the client was incorporating materials from my deliverables plus information from one of the major, worldwide strategy consulting firms that was also working in the same area as I was. In this case, I think it was beneficial because it is a high-stakes strategy area which requires mutiple perspectives, innovation, and cross-checking.
Competitive intelligence (CI) is an activity done by a wide range of professionals ranging from marketers to product managers to consultants to strategic planners. Now I’ve held back for many years on posting on the subject of conducting CI ethically. I tend to be more on the conservative side, and by posting my thoughts on this subject publicly, I’ve had concerns that some clients and future employers would see me as too soft on the issue.
One of the projects I have been working on recently with a partner involves helping an incumbent software vendor explore new business opportunities and facilitating strategy direction with the leadership team. The project involves research & planning with culmination of a key phase being a go/no-go and a commitment of money for development.
Well I suppose technically speaking I learned this as part of instructional and experiential sessions at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Duke's Fuqua School of Business, but I didn't pick up improvisation instruction at the Chicago Booth School of business more than a decade ago when I first got my MBA (side note: a cohesive mix of business theory and improv training definitely would have been good for prepping the cohorted classes).
Mystery of the Mind Trick: Can You Get Someone to Say “We Should Cancel Thanksgiving Because It Is Cruel to Turkeys”?
Recently as I was parked outside of a client site, I was approach by a man who gestured to me to roll down my driver’s side window. He commented that I looked stressed. He started to indicate that I was a nice man, a good man, but that I should not let things distress me so. Was I thinking too much about the upcoming client meeting?
Linda VandeVrede invited me to post on her blog regarding brand-related topics, and I did so by providing some perspectives on "personal branding". "Personal branding" is not a widely understood term, so readers may find it interesting from a career and personal development perspective. In this post, I set the frame in the context of how companies look at a key aspect of brand management - in particular, brand associations.