Consulting is an enormously fun business. Fun in a “get your hands dirty and muck around in the mud while eating designer truffles” kind of way.
You get to roll up your sleeves and solve the problems that clients can’t because they’re too busy going to meetings, playing politics and engaging in other clienty stuff. Plus, they’re not as good at what you do as you are.
But while you’re cavorting in the marsh grasses of client service and romping around the jungle of consulting firm operations, you can lose sight of your overall goals and strategies.
You need a Strategic Guidewire. Consistent, top-down parameters that direct your daily tasks and tactics.
Most corporate executives use their company’s Purpose as their Strategic Guidewire. Purpose consists of a company’s Mission, Vision and Values.
Your Consulting Firm Purpose does, indeed, direct your firm’s strategy, and you’ve undoubtedly spent hours hashing out and communicating your firm’s Mission, Vision and Values.
However, since you lead a consulting firm, your Strategic Guidewire has another strand that’s more important and often left unsaid: your Consulting Firm Intentions.
Your Consulting Firm Intentions reflect what you want to do with your consulting firm. What the firm means to you, personally, as an owner and/or leader.
Depending on what your intentions are, your strategies and tactics will shift substantially.
If multiple leaders in your firm have different intentions, or the “next generation” of the firm has different intentions than the current owners, then your Consulting Firm Intentions will be messy and a source of distress.
What are the choices for your Consulting Firm Intention? Five possibilities are outlined below.
Five Different Consulting Firm Intentions
Increase market value
Maximize profit/cash flow to the owner(s)
Maintain cash flow while reducing labor requirements (a.k.a., “milking”)
Create a better place to work, or improve work/life balance
Prepare/implement a transition of firm ownership/leadership
Those five Consulting Firm Intentions are not mutually exclusive; however, they’re also not fully compatible. Selecting any one of them can deleteriously affect the others.
The next time you sit down to consider your consulting firm’s strategy, or you poke your head up from the weeds and wonder where you’re headed, spend a few mental cycles reaffirming your Consulting Firm Intentions.
And, if you’re part of a leadership team, it’s well worth spending half a day confirming that you all have the same intentions for your firm!
Do you ever envision your Consulting Firm Intention shifting from what it is now?
Text and images are © 2022 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.