Should a company hire a professional consultant or manage their business transformation internally [Part 1]?

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Should a company hire a professional consultant or manage their business transformation internally_1

As a Company wanting to transform your business, overcoming your current challenges and setting yourself up in an uncertain future that lies ahead without your current legacy issues, no more inefficient processes or slow archaic systems, no more bad data, new products, new services, new revenue channels. It’s all very exciting.

No wonder Companies what to just “crack on” with their own transformation, and do it themselves and run it internally. But should they?

In this part 1 (of 3 parts), answering this question can be difficult mostly because it has a lot to do with how the individual companies think of themselves, their current skill set as well as past success in their business transformation efforts.

Since consultants are often not the best people to ask if they should be hired or not, here is a basic list of questions to consider for companies to make an informed decision regarding business transformation services:

  • Do you have the skills?
  • Do you have the experience?
  • Do you have the time and focus?
  • Do you have the budget?

 

1. Do you have the skills?

The first question company’s have when considering whether they should hire a professional consultant, be that an independent contractor, consultant, or consultancy is – whether they have the skills internally to do it?

One of the big misconception in business transformation, when it comes to skills, it’s the skill that is required is hard or technical skills.

These ‘technical’ skills are often specialist skills, or skills in specialist areas, that require specialist training and in terms of business transformation, that is around Business Design, which includes Business Modelling, Business Analysis, Business & Enterprise Architecture, Organisational Design & Implementation and Requirements Management.

But ‘technical’ skills are only half the story. Skills is typically thought of as either hard or soft.
You need soft ‘people’ skills, or hard ‘technical skills. But that’s not entirely true.

The old way of categorising skills is broken – soft and hard skills categorisations doesn’t tell us
enough.

There are actually four (4) types of skills that the Company needs to consider when deciding – do you hire a professional consultant or manage your business transformation internally?’’:

  1. Technical Skills – needed to gather, analyse and share information with various stakeholders.
  2. Business Skills – needed to transform data into insights that enable Organisations to evaluate and align their strategic objectives and plans.
  3. People Skills – to influence decisions, actions and behaviours of decision makers and stakeholders throughout the organisation, and
  4. Leadership Skills – needed to lead their Organisation at the project, programme and portfolio level ensuring the transformation delivers its objectives to the Organisation.

Competency

A quick note on skills. It is no good to have all the skills, and knowledge and not display it, and it’s just as bad to have all the knowledge but apply it in the wrong context.

It takes a level of skill, actually competency to use the right skills, with the right knowledge at the right time, to get the right outcomes to drive the right result.

Want to learn what the 5 Competencies for a Business Transformator are? Download our FREE eBook – The Business Transformation Toolkit here.

2. Do you have the experience?

Closely linked to the first question, is the next – do you (the Company) have the experience?

The number 1 inquiry we get is “we are going to embark on our Organisation transformation, and we’re going to do it ourselves, BUT we are like most companies; we don’t have our own methodology”.

The biggest myth in Business Transformation

Closely linked to the first question, is the next – do you (the Company) have the experience?

The number 1 inquiry we get is “we are going to embark on our Organisation transformation, and we’re going to do it ourselves, BUT we are like most companies; we don’t have our own methodology”.

Probably the biggest myth in Business Transformation, Digital Business Transformation and Digital Transformation right now is that companies think that in order to start their own transformation, and the reason why they don’t do it themselves is – “they think they need their own methodology”

"The biggest myth in business transformation right now is companies think they need their own methodology”.

If you’re a Company and thinking about managing your business transformation internally, here’s the News Flash – You DON’T need your own methodology!

What you need is a framework you can trust, and then with your chosen framework, apply and adopt it to your Organisation and your transformation (looking for a framework trusted by the UK Government, have a look here).

The three (3) golden rules when choosing your framework 

When you are choosing your framework, you need to remember the three (3) golden rules:

  1. No one-framework is fit for purpose for All Organisations and for all situations
  2. Adopt a trusted framework for long term success
  3. Apply your chosen framework proportionately

Biggest mistake with adopting the right framework

This is biggest mistake when adopting the ‘right’ framework’, is not the framework itself, it’s actually the skill of the Consultant or internal staff member and team that use that framework.

The Users of your chosen framework, the ones doing the transformation (we call Transformators), need to use and apply it proportionately and appropriately.

What proportionately and appropriately means, is applying the framework to the degree it needs to, based on the transformation itself, the organisations culture, time, urgency etc.

There is no use applying or beating people of their head with your chosen framework, if it’s not suitable for the situation, the people don’t understand or see the benefits for it, or why use it, to the degree you would want them too!

I have seen this attempted (beating people over their head with chosen frameworks), and it doesn’t end very well. It ultimately ends in wasting everyone’s time, money and missing opportunities.

If you want to learn what are the 25 essential skills for business transformation are, download our FREE Business Transformation Toolkit eBook here.

3. Do you have the time and focus?

When companies are looking at bringing in a consultant to manage their business transformation or manage it internally, the third question you need to ask is “how committed are you?”

Whether you manage it yourself, or get a consultant, consultancy or independent contractor to run it for you, you have to be prepared to take action.

What that means is that you commit the right resources to it, that have the right level of authority (or delegated it), these people attend and contribute to the work, and the designs and roadmaps that are developed describe the problems the transformation is to address, and outline the actual solutions that will address them, with viable and practical plans for implementation, that allow the business to realise the planned business benefits, achieve the Strategic Objectives, and fulfil its Vision, are approved by these same stakeholders, that the Business who is impacted by these decisions fully are brought in on it, believe it, support and implement it.

Once you start, you must have full intention to only stop when its “done”. And “done” being “implemented”.

You might change direction, timing or pivot as it’s called in Startup-world through your transformation journey, and you should expect that, you will learn more about the problem, how to solve them, and possible solutions as you go through your transformation, and that’s OK. But you should not stop.

You need to focus on making progress, getting work ‘done’, adopting the agile mindset, and apply the principle ‘done is better than perfect’.

Whether you run your transformation internally or bring in a consultant, when you start your transformation, you need to commit time, resources and budget to it.

If you expect to do your transformation by only committing some time, or some resources, or some budget, don’t be surprised if the transformation gets in trouble with all three (3) – out of time, lack of resources, and/or out of budget.

‘If you expect to do your transformation by only committing some time, or some resources, or some budget, don't be surprised if the transformation gets in trouble with all three (3) – out of time, lack of resources, and/or out of budget.”.
Heath Gascoigne Business Transformator
Heath Gascoigne
Business Transformator

Note – the reason you dont want to stop, or give the impression to your staff and team you do not fully intend to change, is one (1) reason. Once your Team or Organisation realises you are not actually nor fully committed to change, neither will they. They won’t put in the effort, and won’t take it seriously. It will all just be theatre.

"The reason you dont want to stop, or give the impression to your staff and team you do not fully intend to change, is one reason. Once your Team realises you are not fully committed to change, neither will they. They won’t put in the effort, and won’t take it seriously. It will all just be theatre.

4. Do you have the budget?

Last, but by no means the least question companies consider when deciding whether to bring in a professional consultant or manage their business transformation internally themselves, is naturally budget.

This is probably the single biggest reason why Companies want to do it themselves, and don’t want to hire a consultant or consultancy – out of fear of the costs involved.

This fear is caused by two (2) main reasons:

  1. They think it’s expensive, and
  2. They think they could probably do it cheaper themselves.

Neither is right or wrong. I personally have been called into numerous projects and programs that have been running for months, sometimes 1-2 years that the Client run internally and then needed to bring in external consultants (me) to fix it. In these cases, the projects were out of money, or just about to be, and the planned deliverables that are overdue are nowhere to be seen (I wrote about it here).

What happens in the end is the Company ends up spending twice what they originally budgeted, and it takes twice as long.

Summary

The big questions a company considers whether to hire a professional consultant, independent contractor or consultancy or manage their business transformation internally are whether:

  • Do you have the skills?
  • Do you have the experience?
  • Do you have the time and focus?
  • Do you have the budget?

To read part 2 of this article, when we discuss ‘now you have made that decision, what’s to expect next’.

If you want help with your business transformation, you can reach out via this form to work with a professional consultant.

If you want 1-on-1 coaching, to help you through your business transformation, see our coaching here.

If you have any more questions, view our frequently asked questions (FAQs) section here.

Thank you for reading this!

Sincerely,

Heath Gascoigne

P.S. If you want to join our Business Transformator community of like-minded Business Transformators, join the community on the Business Transformator Facebook Group here.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about business transformation, check out The Business Transformation Playbook here.

For more information, visit https://www.hoba.tech

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Heath Gascoigne

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I'm Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients' business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.
Heath Gascoigne

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I'm Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients' business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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35.5t-30.5 14.5q-19 0-40-12l-449-236-449 236q-22 12-40 12-21 0-31.5-14.5t-10.5-35.5q0-6 2-20l86-500-364-354q-25-27-25-48 0-37 56-46l502-73 225-455q19-41 49-41t49 41l225 455 502 73q56 9 56 46z"/></svg></label><label class="wpforms-field-rating-item choice-4" for="wpforms-28908-field_3_4"><span class="wpforms-screen-reader-element">Rate 4 out of 5</span><input type="radio" id="wpforms-28908-field_3_4" class="wpforms-field-required wpforms-screen-reader-element" name="wpforms[fields][3]" value="4" required><svg width="28" height="28" style="height:28px;width:28px;" fill="currentColor" color="#ffcc00" viewBox="0 0 1792 1792" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"><path d="M1728 647q0 22-26 48l-363 354 86 500q1 7 1 20 0 21-10.5 35.5t-30.5 14.5q-19 0-40-12l-449-236-449 236q-22 12-40 12-21 0-31.5-14.5t-10.5-35.5q0-6 2-20l86-500-364-354q-25-27-25-48 0-37 56-46l502-73 225-455q19-41 49-41t49 41l225 455 502 73q56 9 56 46z"/></svg></label><label class="wpforms-field-rating-item choice-5" 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