Value-focused Consulting (VFC) is a consulting service based upon the following principles:

 

  • Greater value is generated for a client if the goals of an engagement would result in an impact to the client’s bottom-line whether financial or otherwise.  This return on investment (ROI) should be clear.

  • Greater value is generated for a client, if it is clear why the client should prioritize a consulting engagement over other pressing tasks. This “return on involvement” should also be clear.

  • A clear understanding of where the organization wants to be to be successful – Strategy.  Defining the right strategy based on understanding the business challenges is key to success.

  • A system-based approach should be used to understand (System) the current situation in the client’s organization. This includes the following:

    • Current organization – history, context, characteristics, culture, readiness to change, etc.

    • Current approaches to organization design and development – talent and leadership; skills, competencies and technologies; organization structure including matrices; processes and decision making; and culture.

    • Current partnering strategies and alliance management

    • Important change initiatives

  • Greater value will be generated for the client if the context of an engagement is clear and how it will help to impact the gap between the current situations and the target.

  • Greater value is generated for the client if the Style is used whether it is Value- focused business consulting (VFB), Value–focused Executive Coaching (VFEC) or Value-Focused Transformative Collaborations (VFTC).

  • Greater value is generated for the client if there are clear action plans and plans for transition of the organization – Actions

  • Finally, there is greater value generated for the client if the impact of these actions are measured and tracked to ensure the engagement delivers the – Results

 

       This paper will explore the VFC approach by considering the Integrated Model of Strategic Leadership in the Figure above.

 

       The first step in any VFC engagement is to understand the overall strategy (Strategy) of an organization. This is an important step because it helps to define where an organization is trying to get to and helps us understand how a consulting engagement fits into this target.  It also helps in defining a clear goal for the VFC engagement in the context of an overall strategy. Finally, it is also essential to help define the value that a VFC engagement can deliver. In other words, by understanding their strategy helps to answer the question- what would success look like? If a consulting engagement is not part of an overall strategy or is disconnected from the wider strategy, there is a danger that the consulting engagement will not deliver a return on investment or involvement.  If the strategy of an organization is not clear, VFC can be used to help define the business strategy.  In the case of collaborations between organizations a critical step is to understand the strategy of each of the partners.  Alignment of the partner’s strategies is a critical success factor in successful collaborations.

 

       The second step in any VFC engagement is to understand the organizational context (System) of an organization. Any change to an organization starts from the current context, whether it is organizational structure, organizational characteristics, current portfolio of work, or other factors. A successful VFC engagement starts with the understanding of the current organizational situation.  In the case of collaborations it is important to understand the organizational context for each of the partners involved in the collaboration.  If the current situation is not taken into account there is a danger that a change effort can become theoretical and not based on the real world situation an organization finds itself.  We are always starting from current situation based on the history and evolution of an organization and identifying the gap to the right target. In other words, we are not starting from scratch and building a new organization but are dealing with the current reality.  Understanding the current context also gives an indication of the extent of the change effort that is required to meet the new business strategy.

 

      The third step is to determine the Style to fill the gaps between the strategy and the current organization context.  Three approaches have been defined that I believe have the biggest impact on an organizations bottom-line as follows:

 

  • Value-Focused Business Consulting (VFBC) This is an internally focused consulting engagement, i.e., changes that need to occur within an organization. This would include business strategy definition, organizational design and organizational development. The approach is an integrated system approach that involves pulling all of levers for change and changing all the dimensions of an organization together to have the maximum transformational impact. VFC works with organizations to design and develop their organizations to optimize the delivery of a business strategy.

 

  • Value-Focused Executive Coaching (VFEC)  The success or failure of a business strategy is often determined by the behaviors of leaders and their teams. There are significant challenges modern leaders face to constantly improve productivity; manage complex, virtual networks of employees (internal and external collaborations) and manage transitions into new and different roles and responsibilities.  These challenges require leaders to change and develop their behaviors and skills. VFEC help leaders to navigate these changes and help them maximize their performance.

 

  • Value-Focused Transformative Collaborations (VFTC) In addition to building effective internal organization, increasingly a strategy that organizations have increasingly adopted in the past decades is forming strategic partnering relationships with other companies and organizations. There is, and probably always has been, a heavy reliance on making these relationships work and to deliver effectively on their purpose, vision and goals.  Value-focused transformative collaborations need to go beyond the simple transactional relationship and to form relationships that are strategic and co-creative. To achieve this goal often involve multiple partners  (CDCNs) from different types of organization and this complexity can generate significant negative energy and stifle innovation. It is possible, through active leadership and management, to reverse this negative energy and take advantage of positive energy that is generated by the diversity of skills, talent and ideas that come from many different organizations in a strategic relationship. VFTC provides an assessment tool and framework to help leaders navigate this complex management challenge.

 

         Whether the approach taken in step 3 is to redesign and change an internal organization, change leadership behavior or transform external collaborations, the fourth step is to identify the Actions that need to taken to help deliver an organization’s strategy and deliver value to the bottom-line.  These actions may be change management, leadership behavioral change or transition planning.

 

            The final step is measuring and tracking success and achieving the Results.  This step includes identifying tools to define a measurement system and an governance and change management architecture (PMO).

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