What Is Consulting, and Who Needs It?
Consulting has become a catch-all term loosely referring to the provision of business advice across a range of issues, but it is much more than this.
Consulting engagements are typically designed to solve focused and specific challenges for clients, using experts in problem-solving. Consultants come from a variety of backgrounds, and at OE Consulting, we believe that the best consultants have sat in seats similar to those of our clients. Consultants with wide operational experience will have expertise across a substantial range of organizational functions—general management, sales, programs, operations, and board management, among others—to help you find solutions to any strategic problem.
How to Choose an Executive Search Firm — Ask The Right Questions
- Your leadership team is fully occupied with creating value for your organization
- You are seeking multiple individuals in a time-consuming process
- You are seeking hard-to-locate talent
- You believe that the very best candidates are presently employed, and it’s unlikely to connect with them passively, through an advertisement or social media strategy
- You require help thinking through compensation levels, available talent pools, or organizational design considerations
- The role you are trying to fill is absolutely crucial to your organization’s success
At OE, our role is deeper than mere advice. In order to help organizations act on their greatest opportunities and address their most pressing challenges, we become profoundly connected to their talent, strategy, and operations. Whether we are assisting for a few months or remain on retainer for years, we ensure our clients have more than just a consultant—we provide true partnership.
Four Types of Consulting Services at OE
OE provides four types of consulting services: talent, structure, strategy, and evaluation. This array is not an accident. The services OE offers are designed to address organizations as a whole; to create integrity and synchronization among many parts.
- Executive Search
- Leadership Development
- Organizational Design
- Leadership and Board Design
- Long-Term Mission and Strategy Formation
- Formal Strategic Planning
- Impact Evaluation
- Change Management
The How Is as Important as the What
The manner in which OE delivers these services is as important as the type of consulting services we offer. Several governing philosophies animate our work across all areas:
- Expertise & Pattern Recognition – Many of our clients are luminaries in their respective fields. Our expertise is in organizations and talent; recognizing patterns and systems, knowing how to solve problems, creating growth, and locating and retaining talent.
- Curiosity & Tenacity – Active, innate, and inexhaustible curiosity lives in each person who works at OE.
- Listening & Understanding – In order to do our jobs properly, we must come to understand our clients, and their candidates, with the greatest possible depth and nuance.
- Facilitation & Co-design – One of the hardest things to teach a young consultant is to resist the urge to appear as the smartest person in the room. Our job is to understand our clients’ challenges and opportunities, to present strategies, and, if possible, solutions. Our clients are the experts in their fields. Our expertise lies in the nature, formation, design, and deployment of organizations and leadership. Combining our expertise with that of our clients requires modesty and trust on all sides. To that end we design the heart of our role as facilitators and co-designers.
Our core product is executive search, but acquiring talent is only half the battle. Developing and retaining that talent requires additional intention and investment.
Our Executive Search delivers the right leadership talent. We pay particular attention to fitting talent to an organization’s structure, strategy, and culture, as well as to creating equitable processes and opportunities for all.
Our Leadership Development practice focuses on nurturing your most valuable talent, ensuring that they are progressing and that you are getting their best.
An organization’s structure should be aligned with its strategies, but often, they are not.
A good organizational design (more commonly a redesign) aligns talent, capacity, and expertise with organizational strategies. It helps to promote a positive workplace and enables everyone to have a hand in achieving your vision. A solid design solves inefficient use of talent, poor quality of services or products, and low morale or burnout.
As with any engagement, OE begins an organizational redesign process with comprehensive research into your goals and strategies, human capital and talent, leadership styles, resources, brand, and culture. Once we have a solid understanding of all the moving parts, and, particularly of the articulation among those parts, we create an effective and efficient organizational design that ensures the right people are strategically assigned to precisely the right tasks and have the time they need to succeed.
Leadership & Board Design
OE can also focus on designing or developing C-Suites, leadership teams, and boards of directors so that these crucial groups are working in unison toward achieving strategic goals.
OE can help with both long-term strategic vision and formal strategic planning.
Long-Term Strategy Formation
Too frequently, organizations leap into formal strategic planning before they are ready. We have observed clients embarking on their third or fourth multi-year strategic plan without having stepped back to examine whether their organization’s and/or the broader ecosystem around them have changed.
OE helps organizations to pause, scan their environment, reexamine their longer-term purpose, mission, and strategy, and prepare themselves for a more formal strategic planning process so that the effort is not misaligned with present realities.
We frequently think in 10-year frames for longer-term outlooks and 3-year strategic planning cycles. This is entirely dependent upon the context. We are presently helping one client think through what may be the ultimate expression of optimism and hope—a 300-year strategic positioning.
Regardless of financial prowess or mission, few organizations manage to achieve their goals without clear strategies that have broad internal consensus.
OE’s technical approach to strategic planning rests on four pillars:
- Strong research and analysis–we get to know your organization intimately.
- Dedication to stakeholder engagement–we bring in as many voices as possible who need to be heard.
- A phased, disciplined process–we identify external landscapes, internal capacities, goals, gaps, and metrics before we begin setting strategies.
- Judgment and experience–we’ve created and executed hundreds of strategies as consultants and operators, and we ensure that strategies are practical by keeping implementation and execution in mind at every moment.
Expertise is a prerequisite, but success relies equally on judgment and experience. OE principals have led and managed for profits, start-ups, nonprofits, and philanthropies. Each client we work with deserves our best—and our best includes ensuring that we listen well, manage risk prudently, and become true partners from start to strategic success.
OE helps organizations evaluate their impact performance and respond to findings.
OE principals have decades of experience in this field. We focus on creating practical, affordable solutions that bring evaluation down to earth, making it clear, comprehensible, and actionable.
Evaluation done properly is not simply an intellectual exercise. It is intended to achieve concrete goals:
- Increasing both financial and non-financial returns on investment
- Improving brand management and case making
- Improving organizational efficiency
Once an organization understands its progress toward impact goals, there is almost always a need for both a strategic and tactical response.
As part of our Evaluation services, OE helps organizations gently adjust their strategies and programs, which is a benefit of engaging an evaluation team that has strategic and operational experience.
How Do I Know What Service I Need?
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What is my organization’s greatest opportunity?
- What is our greatest challenge, problem, or threat?
- Do I know precisely what to do about these things, or do I need a second pair of eyes–someone with different expertise, experiences, or pattern recognition?
- Do I have the workforce capacity to respond to this opportunity or threat?
- Is it more expensive, taking opportunity cost into account, to hire outside expertise, or to DIY?
In addition to asking these questions, you can reach out to us.
Learn More About How OE Consulting’s Services Can Help You
Relationships are our pride and priority. We prefer to build partnerships, starting with substantive, non-transactional, and open conversations. If we can help, we’ll say so. If we can’t, we’ll say so and will direct you to the right resource. Client/consultant fit is absolutely essential. You can depend upon us for an honest assessment that puts your well-being first.
Explore our website to see the clients we’ve supported and learn how we have served them. Interested in getting a sense of how we do what we do?