What You Find If You Go Looking:

It’s not an unreasonable assumption that anyone seriously interested in getting help with a proposed business transformation might go looking for a business transformation agency to introduce them to expert advice. So what are they likely to find?

There’s lots of stuff online about actual consultants who are proposing Digital Transformation – see our previous blog on this topic here. On the other hand there’s nothing about how to find people who are experts in overall Business Transformation.

So I thought we could take a little time to work out what that help might look like.

What Should a Transformation Agency Do?

  •    What should one of these be doing and how can you tell they have the right pool of resources?
  •    How do they work?
  •    Isn’t it just a contract agency with a *specialist* model?   Experience tells me that this is indeed the case.

So excuse me for being cynical but how often does a contract agency actually get to have a real impact on the work the client is doing? More often they are constrained by client procurement models – frequently focused on lowest cost rather than quality of eventual outcome.

Frequently they work by having a pool of people on their books who have some form of experience in running business change. These folks aren’t going to be cheap and then there’s the agency margin on top. And that’s before you have any idea about how things are going to go. Hiring is likely to be for a minimum of 3 months – at whatever day-rate is agreed. Yet nowhere is there any warranty that the focus is going to be on the right outcomes.

That’s because agencies never get into detailed discussions with client organisations about why they intend to carry out Project X or Y. Yet a Transformation Agency ought to be doing just that. They need to understand what your problem is – even if to begin with that means that you have to admit that you aren’t entirely sure yourself. Otherwise how on earth do you expect them to come up with relevant and meaningful resources to help you?

That Approach is NOT Going to Help

If your procurement wants to turn to an agency for help in resourcing talent, that’s fine. However the focus of that whole exercise needs to be on the expected outcome of the intervention.

In typical interim management hiring, the questions are usually centred on how many times the candidate has done exactly this role before. There’s no accountability in the procurement team for the end-results that are delivered. It’s a really badly flawed model and yet it persists everywhere.

Instead you should look for people who can introduce you to talent that will deliver or, better still, who will work alongside you to help you and your teams do the delivery.

When it comes to major transformation activity you need experts in transformation not in the technical content of your business. These experts will challenge your thinking and approaches at every step. Just what you want to make sure things are robust and aimed in the right direction.

What is Missing?

So what, if anything, should a so-called Business Transformation Agency add to the process?

First of all they themselves should be able to demonstrate a proper understanding not only of HR and contract recruitment (that’s a given) but instead they should be able to talk sensibly about the whole transformation process.

If they can’t come up with a rational description of CPS and Governance and how it all fits together, then the chances are they won’t be able to identify the right talent. In these circumstances – give them a wide berth.

Where to Turn?

If you have come to the conclusion that they are not the right source of help – then where do you turn?

That’s where you need to brush up on how to select Transformation Consultants. The ball is actually firmly in your court. We covered this topic in an earlier post and its importance is never diminished. Spend some time on this and don’t rely on your usual supplier of contract executives. The result is almost certainly going to be that you will take a different approach and will also understand why that is so.

In fact it is your lead consultant who should be able to help you resource properly. That’s because THEY understand better what is needed and can advise accordingly. They also understand the complexity of transformation teams and the mix of skills and styles that are required. Ideally they will also help you to source this internally – it is going to cost far less and can be equally effective.

So Now What?

Are you looking for consultancy help with a proposed transformation? Maybe you want help in finding the right people or resources? If so get in touch and have a conversation. We look forward to helping you transform in ways that take account of the resources you already have as well as what you do. If you’d like more information then you can also follow this link.

Rob Wherrett can be contacted at https://robwherrett.com/contact/

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