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For this installment of our 5-part series, we will address the process of selecting the right Strategy Consultant to support your initiative and your team. Thus far, we have discussed the reasons why you would consider bringing on a consultant and how to distinguish between a high-quality and low-quality strategy engagement, and so now comes the question of how to figure out which firm is best positioned to address your needs.
The solicitation process is generally straight-forward. Regardless of whether an organization puts out a request for proposals, or contacts individual firms, the end result is typically a pile of proposals that more or less say the same thing. The proposal will walk the you through the firm’s understanding of your situation and scope of work, their proposed approach to solving the problem, the team members that have relevant expertise, past performance, fees, etc. and it is up to you to read between the lines to figure out who will be the best fit.
There is certainly a lot of value in reviewing what and how a consulting firm is proposing to complete the task, but reading between the lines is arguably just as critical to determine if a firm possesses a set of innate qualities that will make the difference between simply being a partner and being the right partner for you.
For this series, we have compiled a list of guidelines for our readers that should help anyone in the market for a good Strategy Consultant make the right choice.
These guidelines have been developed and observed by our team over the years under various professional engagements and they are qualities that we ourselves at Cipher try to strive for in the work at we do.
A well thought out and diligently prepared proposal are typically good indications of how the relationship with a Strategy Consultant team will develop, however, in many ways it is also just the tip of the iceberg. As you evaluate different consulting firms, we recommend you invest time during the proposal phase to get to know your potential partners a bit. Ask the right questions, inquire for more information, ask for an initial discussion and a subsequent in-depth review of the provided proposal, and so on. These steps will ensure that there is enough interaction up front to build rapport and to read between the lines to find the right fit.
Derek Heiss is the Director of Cipher’s Consulting Practice and is specialized in competitive intelligence and market strategy consulting. Cipher is a consulting and technology firm, based in Annapolis, with a 20+ year track record of delivering solutions to the Fortune 500 and Global 1,000.