Your interests and needs are all unique so each engagement will look a little different. We first start with a one-on-one consultation (unless your business is a partnership) where we get to know each other, see if we fit, discuss your needs and goals, and we’ll provide you with concrete steps on how to move forward (with or without us). You’ll let us know if you’d like us to help implement them (whether we do it ourselves or help select/manage those who will) which could mean periodic, strategic action consultations, discrete (one-off) project launch and management, or ongoing business and strategic management–online or offline. Some activities that we might manage for you:
Here are some possible ways an engagement could work (not limited to the ones below):
THE CHALLENGE: You need more clients and want to “get your name out there”
Due to the intensive nature of our work, we can only work with a few clients at any one time. We select our clients based on “fit” — based on a sense of whether we are the best people to help you, whether we get along and communicate well, and your motivation and openness to change and new ideas. Let’s meet and go from there.
As your needs and situation are unique, we offer our services on a sliding scale (primarily for non-profits and social entrepreneurs). We collaborate with you on designing the program that will be best for your needs and has the right payment schedule/structure for you. We may even want to partner with you if we find our services compatible or complementary. Why not promote positive change in the world together?
Who you are, what you do, why you do it
Whether you’re starting a business/organization, buying a business or managing a current organization, it’s important that you are clear about its purpose (value proposition), identity (values, branding, distinctiveness) and your overall goals and strategy (mission, vision, systems). We help you define/refine your high level ideas/concepts down to their related nitty gritty activities/processes.
How you do it now
We review your (planned) activities/processes, your systems and your outcomes to see how well they actually align and support your overall organizational model, strategy and identity. Our approach is systematic and systemic. Although, it is relatively straightforward to collect data and conduct in-depth analysis, doing so won’t capture the whole picture. We realize that all information/data exist in systems — usually technological, but definitely within a human “system” where people affect it and are affected by it. There are intangible politics, group dynamics, biases and issues of communication, empowerment, trust, and self esteem. Yes we value numbers, but it isn’t and should be everything.
What you’d like to do
We “ translate” your needs/goals into actions that, again, support your organizational model, strategy and identity. In many approaches we’ve reviewed, communication is simply embedded as part other major activities. We believe this step is crucial enough to be its own “major activity”– a critical step towards making any change. Communication is an ongoing activity that is never “over”.
People are the core to every organization; if real, clear communication doesn’t occur, there is no organization, simply a group of individuals working near each other doing similar or related things. Even as a sole proprietor, you must interact with others (lenders, investors, clients, peers, subcontractors, consultants). Without proper communication, so much is lost from what could be a very productive, and mutually rewarding relationship. No goal can be met if the goal isn’t understood in the first place; it needs to be defined AND understood well by all parties involved. It might even be that the goal isn’t even appropriate or it cannot be met in isolation of another goal!
Vendors, subcontractors and consultants tend to specialize in a subject or a product/tool. We call these technicians. This specialization can also occur within organizations, with “siloed” departments/units. However, if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. We are not technicians but we speak their language so you don’t have to. We’ll make sure to ask the right questions and give clear instructions (or coach you to do so) so that everyone is on the same page and on the right track.
Getting it done
Once a goal (and its activities) are defined AND understood well, we ensure that the necessary tasks are accomplished. This could involve any combination of project coordination, documentation, training, knowledge management & troubleshooting. Again, our focus is on the synergy of all “the moving parts”. We prioritize monitoring and evaluating activities — it is one thing to accomplish something, it is another to know how it was accomplished in order to repeat or enhance it.
Every implemented or attempted action is a change, sometimes a significant one that has external ripple effects, especially in the “human system”. We help you present and communicate these changes to the people it involves, anticipate and respond to their reactions, and help them adapt to it.