What Do Management Consultants do?

Management Consultants

There are many ways management consultants serve their clients —from providing functional expertise to being an objective party in a major decision a company is making. Management consultants are experts at assisting businesses to scale performance and solve problems. This work is often centered around helping organizational leadership improve overall operations.

More recently, management consulting is shifting to address the overarching business strategy’s talent strategy. Why? The CEO Benchmarking Report found that four of the top five challenges CEOs face come down to people’s problems. Without a talent strategy that allows for successful business strategy execution, an organization’s results are left to chance.

Consulting centers around helping CEOs build a better framework for their talent strategy. Previously, CEOs heavily relied on HR for anything ‘people-related,’ but they need to be in-tuned to the people strategy and implement it as a leader.

A day in the life of a management consultant

What a management consultant does on a day-to-day basis can vary significantly due to the job itself and whether a consultant works solo or with a consultancy firm. However, there are some defined commonalities.

Project work is the foundation of most consulting engagements.

Project work has traditionally been the foundation of most consulting engagements—but those days are numbered. The found that CEOs are looking for more than just traditional management consulting—and they’re shifting away from expensive, customized projects. Instead, they’re looking for a proven process and system to get results and better align talent with the business strategy.

While a proven process and system may streamline the day-to-day a bit, you can still expect a great deal of variety in a management consultant’s work.

Work-life balance can be a struggle.

As with all jobs, there’s a trade-off: Long hours are standard, and flexibility is essential. Consulting is not the average 9-to-5 job, and you can spend a considerable amount of time away from home when meeting with clients on-site. On the other hand, the role is also quite demanding and often means being under pressure to meet tight deadlines.

How to get into management consulting

Unlike many other occupations, there’s no set career path into the consulting industry. Generally, consulting is not a degree-specific industry. Instead, consultants focus on a handful of business issues, such as employee engagement or regulatory compliance.

An aptitude for client handling, listening, strategic planning, business analysis, and team building are attractive to consulting employers, as are creativity, flexibility, and strong interpersonal skills.

Trust and courage are critical skills for management consultants.

When working with clients, trust is a must. But how do you cultivate a trusting relationship with clients? Often overlooked, listening is one of the key ingredients to building trust. As a consultant, you’ll be able to analyze the situation and help grow the business from where they are to their goal. Establishing trust can also open the doors to challenge decision-makers to adopt a different mindset or help shape their current approach.

Another critical consulting skill is the courage to voice an opinion, and arguably the most vital skill. Openly discussing challenging topics or issues can help formulate improvement plans to turn their weaknesses into strengths.

Being a consultant takes a unique skill set that balances analytical abilities and stellar communication. Good consultants think like executives, understand management trends, and influence business.

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Newland Associates

Newland Associates

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