Building Value with Thought Leadership

Braden Kelley is an innovation and change specialist, the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, an InnovationExcellence.com co-Founder, and is the creator of the Change Planning Toolkit™ and a book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (January 2016 release).

Consulting firms sell expertise, and their currency is trust. Large consultancies like Boston Consulting Group, Bain, McKinsey, Deloitte, Accenture and others make their money from being a trusted advisor to companies around the world. Why do companies trust them?

One reason is that companies always value an external perspective, and there is a large army of alumni from these firms in organizations around the world guiding their leadership to choose their former employer as that external perspective, or that extra pair of hands needed in tackling a large strategic challenge.

But there are also several other considerations that factor into an organizations choice of a trusted advisor, including:

  • Previous experience
  • Industry expertise
  • Area of practice specialty (strategy, HR, innovation, finance, M&A, technology, etc.)
  • Personal relationships
  • Thought leadership

The resulting client work creates staffing plans within consultancies to provide billable hours for project execution. And, while most consulting firms spring to life and find early success because of the strength of their thought leadership, in general, over time most consulting firms tend to under-invest in thought leadership. As a consequence, they find themselves vulnerable to new entrants nibbling around the edges of their core business and see …

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"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT's relativity."

- Albert Einstein

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