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Convergence within Divergence

November 6, 2017

During the consulting process, each team member often takes initiative over one work stream. While we all have separate responsibilities, it is crucial to be on the same page about each other’s work and know exactly how each person's research fits into the larger puzzle. Ultimately, transparency throughout the project is key to creating high quality deliverables. There are three main impacts of transparency on consulting and overall business strategies:

 

Transparency shows the direction the project or business strategy is going.

First, within a team, it is important that everyone knows about each other’s research and how all the separate components essentially answer the client’s ask. Not only in specific situations like my personal experience where I was asked to carry the burden of the entire team’s work, but also for the quality of the deliverable, it is better that team members are aware of the main points of other people’s responsibilities. Only with some background knowledge, can others ask meaningful questions and engage in a lucrative discussion about the various directions the team can take the client’s problem.

 

Additionally, when it comes to the consultant-client, relationship, consultants should be transparent about their data collection process (methodology) so that the client knows where the sources of the final deliverables are and refer back to them in the future. The consultants should also be transparent about what areas are were research were not feasible by once again showing exactly what steps were taken throughout the consulting process. HubSpot’s marketing manager said: “Today, power is gained by sharing knowledge not hoarding it”.

 

Transparency keeps including consultants accountable for the quality of their work.

Right off the bat, all the members regardless of their leadership positions or type of projects, should know their responsibilities as members of Hilltop Consultants. Then, each specific role as senior consultant, project manager or board member is explained in an organization-wide event. All constituents of organization are aware of everyone’s else responsibilities so it automatically makes people accountable for their work, behavior and dedication. Of course, every member has the creative freedom to practice consulting and leadership skills to render one’s own contribution to the organization; however, by making the basic responsibilities transparent, it emboldens everyone’s sense of responsibility.

 

Transparency strengthens teamwork.

Only with transparency, will other consultants know if you are struggling with your responsibilities. One team member may have failed to meet expectations, but this does not always have be a punishable situation. In fact, it is common that one encounters an obstacle during the research process. One course of action from here is that you just don’t mention the questions and errors and only present parts of your research to force it into the project’s framework. The more favorable course of action is to open up the flaws to the team and ask for advice. After all, it is the entire team’s given responsibility to resolve the client’s issue. Instead of downgrading your credibility as a consultant, working with the team to solve the problem will only improve the quality of the final outcome. The Quantum Workplace 2015 Employee Engagement Trends report has stated that one of top employee engagement drivers was “I trust the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success”. Those who have leadership positions should not be too afraid to step up to address a personal issue they have encountered in fulfilling their duties as leaders or ever deter other members from raising their voices about their concerns.

 

By maintaining a transparent working environment, a business consulting team can improve its efficiency and have more quality control over the final outcomes. Every consultant may have divergent responsibilities, but finding the convergent point of all those responsibilities to address the client’s problem is a crucial step in consulting.

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