When choosing an adviser specialized in organizational transformation, an impulsive decision is simply perilous.
Why is choosing an adviser so perilous?
It’s a fact: Firms and advisers with diverse profiles and skills abound. Advisers are often highly skilled in strategic planning, project management, risk management, business architecture, human resources, continuous improvement, etc.
Each one of these skills is valuable. And so, how can we make the right choice? What are the qualities to look for when hiring an adviser to support an organizational transformation that will certainly produce changes almost simultaneously on several fronts, specifically with regard to governance, business processes, tools, systems, organizational structure, roles and responsibility, and even corporate culture?
The extensive scope of a major transformation may not be well served by an overly-specialized adviser. In some cases, such advisers may have only a fragmented vision of related issues and solutions.
What is the ideal profile for your transformation?
The adviser must be as skilled in strategic planning as in implementing change.
Your adviser must be able to coach the manager assigned to lead your major transformation. He must help you stay the course amid the turbulence caused by the change, not only during the diagnosis and the strategic planning, but throughout the transformation project.
He must roll up his sleeves and work in the field.
A transformation is experienced in the field—in day-to-day operations. Your adviser must be part of the solutions he puts forward and play an active role in their implementation.
He must exercise discretion and offer insight to management.
A good adviser is discreet and knows how to make his client and the management team shine. He will never assume the leadership role of the transformation on your behalf.
What must an adviser know to help you?
An adviser must be an ace in visualization and communications.
A transformation adviser will help you manage several change projects at a time, which are part and parcel of the major transformation. He must be able to visualize the transformation and its destination. Your adviser helps draft the story of the transformation and champions employee communications. As well, he helps you ensure that all employees buy into this vision.
An adviser must be able to run and finish the transformation marathon.
He advises and coaches you during the implementation of a common and global vision of the transformation. He draws up with you the transformation roadmap. He coaches your managers and their teams involved in managing the impacts, and more specifically helps them reap the benefits to be derived throughout the transformation.
An adviser must know how to put out fires while keeping up momentum.
He supports managers as they introduce change while helping them maintain efficient operations.
The expertise he provides must exceed his knowledge.
Finally, an adviser has access to a pool of experts from his own firm who provide technical support, as required.
What three qualities, at a minimum, should your future adviser have?
The first thing you want to know is how your future adviser works. He must show flexibility in his approach and methodology. You should never have to adapt to an adviser.
The cameleon gene
Drawing on her past experience and achievements, your adviser must be able to readily join your current team and instantly adopt the colours of your organization. It must be second nature. His new colleagues will say: “It’s like you’ve always been part of our team!”
The gift of ubiquity: When the adviser leaves, his knowledge remains.
A good adviser will turn his client into a transformation leader thanks to the sustainable transfer of knowledge and tools throughout his involvement in the project. He will continue to have an impact even after he leaves.
When choosing an adviser, try to avoid an overly-specialized resource and make sure that he is there to assist you, not to take over. When he leaves, the sustainable transfer of knowledge and tools should have a powerful leverage effect on your ongoing transformation process and your organization’s ability to change over the medium and long term.