The role of consulting can take on different meanings, depending on a person’s specialty.
A lot of different words before ‘consultant’ can bring very different meanings to each role.
For instance ‘strategy consultants’ and ‘management consultants’ are two bands of consulting.
But when it comes down to the finer details they’re very different roles with different skills and capacity.
So what’s the difference? Let’s get you up to speed.
Strategy vs. Management Consulting
Management consulting refers to expert advice or guidance aimed at a company’s leadership. By supporting and educating a company’s leaders, managers and senior roles, a management consultant should be aiming to improve a leadership team’s overall performance.
Strategy consulting, while very different, falls under the same banner. It could be described as an offset of management consulting. But instead strategy consultants provide industry-focussed solutions and strategies with specific call to arms to deal with companies who are facing unique business and management challenges.
The “Restaurant” Example
There’s a chain restaurant. The type you’d find in a shopping mall.
And for the last few months the restaurant hasn’t been making ends meet.
Unfortunately, consumers weren’t receptive to its last expensive marketing campaign. And as a result the company lost a lot of money without minimal return.
To make matters worse the restaurant’s regulars are slowly, but surely being turned off by the restaurant’s decor, atmosphere and unhealthy menu options. And on top of that, staff claim they’re underpaid and overworked, and the company’s leaders are also receiving constant complaints about a lack of leadership skills within the restaurant.
Given all of this, there’s a very real possibility the franchise is heading towards bankrupt.
What the chain is doing isn’t working, and if it wants to stay afloat, keep people employed something needs to change, and quickly. Ideally, this is where a consulting firm comes in.
Let’s take a look at how both strategy and management consultants would approach the situation.
What would management consultants do?
The consultants would take an over-arching look at the company’s entire operation. From the top to the very bottom.
The most damaging and pressing problems would need to be identified first. This could come from anywhere within the entire organization, from restaurant staff, marketing, administration support and accounts.
Management consultants would need to speak with and address concerns within all departments. These conversations should then provide a basis for solutions, advice and a way forward that could see change within those departments for the betterment of the company.
Some of the suggested changes could be a redevelopment of the restaurant’s interior, or revamp the menu to include some healthier options or options that suit a variety of dietary requirements. These changes would need to be based on existing market research or entirely new market assessments.
A management consultant would also take a look at the company’s marketing strategy and suggest ways the company could better market it restaurants with scalable return
Given the complaints from staff around wages, a consultant could also suggest changes to the budget to ensure workers are paid higher wages.
These factors would amount to “organizational change.” A fundamental shift in how an organization operates. The management consultants would help manage and nurture this process by offering advice, guidance, and objective opinions on what the restaurants more broadly are doing to stay competitive.
The management consultant’s experience, business acumen, understanding of different business methodologies, and problem-solving skills to remedy as many issues as possible.
What would strategy consultants do?
For this example, a strategy consultant probably wouldn’t do the same things that someone who describes themselves as a management consultant would as above.
While a management consultant identifies problems an organization is facing as a whole, and finds ways and solutions to deal with those, a strategy consultant provides strategic advice on specific topics.
For example a strategy consultant would help the restaurant address their marketing strategy that hasn’t worked, and instead cost them money, with little return. The consultant would use their expertise to fix this issue over a timeframe agreed to by the restaurant.
They’d undertake tasks like extensive research, reaching out to consumers, gathering and analyzing data, and testing hypotheses to help create a foundation for the restaurant’s long-term marketing strategy.
The strategy consultant would hone in on a single, pressing management issue, one that has the capacity to make significant change and find solutions to address those challenges.
All strategy consulting is technically management consulting, but not all management consulting is strategy consulting. The difference between the two comes down to specificity.
Management consulting is general. It sets out to address a company’s overarching issues.
While strategy consulting is a part of that, but a much more focussed and intense approach. It’s the subset of management consulting dedicated to remedy specific management issues by pin-pointing and creating long-term strategies that suit the organization’s needs.
Insurance for Consultants
Whether someone works as a management consultant or a strategy consultant, they provide advice and professional services for businesses on regular basis. Clients expect this advice to accurate and lead to results, and should a consultant be perceived as failing to deliver on this or overlooking an important aspect of the project they could pursue a claim for professional negligence. Insurance for consultants is an important element to consider to help protect against these claims of professional negligence. Visit this website to find out more about consultants insurance.