Steve Shu's Blog

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”:

Q&A On Management Consulting and Leadership Topics (On Quora)

For those unfamiliar with Quora, it is one of the emerging “question and answer” sites on the Internet. Although its positioning is not quite clear to me yet, a point of difference relative to other sites (like Yahoo Answers) is that Quora integrates aspects of social networking technology. Throw in a carefully-honed, early-adopter market segment and some venture capital hype – the result for now seems to be a high-quality, professional dialogue hub.

The Power of Project-Based Thinking

As a consultant, 2010 has been an interesting year for me to reflect upon. I am thankful for the clients I have, and they have challenged me to perform my best in a very diverse set of circumstances and industries over the past couple of years.