Have you ever walked into a consulting call and your client immediately asks you what to do next or why things aren’t working—and you have no idea where to even begin?
Yes, it helps to have a documented methodology to reference for ideas. But first, you need to see at a glance what’s going on in their business.
There are three main things to look for:
If your client can’t easily show you these three things, it will be hard to do your job without getting deep into the weeds.
It’s probably a good opportunity for you to help them build the structure needed to do that first.
They’ll likely run a more effective business or department if they do.
I’ll break down why they are so important.
Do your clients have a list of processes they use on a repeat basis?
Anything that gets done repeatedly, whether on a schedule or as-needed, should ideally be written down and documented to the extent reasonable.
Much like your heart beats automatically around the clock, these are the beating heart activities that happen on a regular basis within a company.
Aside from tiny to-dos that make up our days, any large project or task should also be stored somewhere.
Basically, what is getting done currently in addition to the routine processes that take place?
Show me those along with your recurring processes and I’ll be able to see almost everything major that’s going on in the business.
If you can’t show me, there’s a good chance nobody knows. And that makes it hard to advise on (or manage) from a high level.
The more you scale a business, the more these things matter.
Most things can be reduced down to a number. Inputs and outputs.
Find the key activities and results that drive a business. Turn them into a number and put them into a spreadsheet.
You might call them leading and lagging indicators. Or they may include OKRs. Or any other such metrics-driven practice.
Find out what key things are being done and what outcomes are occurring as a result.
If your clients don’t have a way to quickly look at these three areas, it’s a good opportunity to help them do it.
Help them create a project management tool to track recurring tasks and manage projects.
Help them create a KPI project and determine the key numbers that really matter in their business.
If at any point something needs to be worked on or improved, you now have a structure you can review quickly to find areas for improvement.
If you lack any of the above, it will be hard to advise without talking to a hundred people about what’s going on. A lot of companies operate without one or more of these three things in place.
If you’d like more info on this, hit reply and I’ll see about doing a training in the near future.