A Strategy Consultant is a person who helps organizations make decisions by advising on the best alternative among a set of choices.
A Strategy Consultant's work consists largely of analyzing an organization's current situation and developing strategies for how to move forward. These strategies may focus on anything from organizational structure to execution of marketing and advertising campaigns.
Why Do Organizations Hire Strategy Consultants?
An organization might turn to a strategy consultant for help when faced with difficult circumstances (e.g., acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcy, outsourcing). The advice of a strategy consultant can also help an organization make decisions when it is faced with strategic dilemmas.
Strategy Consultants are not confined to professional services firms. Many strategy consultants are self-employed individuals working from their homes or offices, but this is by no means the exclusive domain of small entrepreneurial firms. Large corporations often hire strategy consultants because of the diversity and experience that these experts bring to the table.
What Does a Strategy Consultant Do?
The primary function of strategy consultants is to help an organization formulate a plan for the future. These plans are called "strategic plans" and they generally have a three-year time horizon. Strategy consultants can analyze the current situation, as well as charting a course for the future. Many strategic plans will involve elements that take place over more than one year, such as the implementation of new marketing campaigns, or the enhancement of organizational processes for employees to perform tasks effectively and efficiently.
Strategy consultants may also advise an organization in the areas of execution and control of the strategic plan. While there are certain general elements to a strategic plan, the specific events that happen over the duration of the three-year period must be implemented through organizational decisions and processes. For this reason, strategy consultants can also advise an organization in how it will carry out its strategy to make sure it is carried out successfully.
Strategy consulting has a wide variety of applications. It is used to advise companies, government agencies, government contractors, and non-profit organizations on a wide array of issues. These areas include:
· Research and development (R&D)
· Strategic planning
· Business development/project management
· Sales/marketing/public relations strategy
· Human resource strategies
· Operations strategies
· Supply chain strategies and many more...
Strategic Consultant Skill Requirements
The skill set required to perform this work is unique. Strategy Consulting requires a broad and deep background in business, strategic planning, and global issues. The consultants must be comfortable working with information technology tools and must have a strong foundation in organizational design. Strategy Consultants need to be able to quickly learn new concepts, organize information effectively, and think critically about how the organization should be run. Here are some of the most critical skills:
· Strategic planning & implementation
· Leadership skills
· Thinking critically and creatively
· Interpersonal skills (communication)
· Program Planning and Management Skills
In addition to the above, we find that a strong foundation in program design, management of program budgets, and experience working with groups to increase participation rates are also crucial. Strategic consulting represents a special challenge when it comes to effective communication. In order to successfully communicate with your stakeholders, you need to have a solid understanding of the barriers that people face when communicating.
Firms Hiring Strategic Consultants
Strategy Consulting firms often employ a mixture of consultants, full-time employees and part-time/contract employees. As is true for any type of professional service provider, the industry is all about specialization. So while there are some firms who specialize in only health care strategy consulting (e.g., Credo Health), most companies have staff that engage in a number of different strategies. The following firms are examples of companies that have expertise in both health and non-health strategies:
· Credo Health
· Insight Strategies
· Healthcare Strategy Consultants Association (HSCA)
· Strategic Planning Advisors Inc.
· Strategic Planning Group
· Strategic Planning International Inc.
· Strategy Plus, Inc . (inactive) and AAPEX Advisors (active).
· Strategy Consulting for Nonprofits