The director of an administrative unit wants to improve the processes in his organization and explains his list of questions to me at our first meeting. In the course of the conversation it becomes apparent that several experts have already made numerous recommendations, but that these recommendations have not been or could not be put into practice. We agree that I will have a few conversations within the organisation before I submit a detailed proposal for action.
In the discussions that were held, it was clearly expressed that the organization had become “tired”. One external consulting firm after the other had already passed by, countless unnecessary meetings and workshops had taken place, kilos of reports had been written…
The client realises that a different approach is needed. The existing list of questions is reduced to the essential questions and we agree that my expert report will only contain recommendations which can subsequently be implemented. After a second round of talks, I send the short report to all those concerned for comments. The action plan fixed in this way is released by the client without further adjustments.
Results and insights
After around three months, all of the recommendations were implemented with almost no problems.
Why was the chosen approach successful? It would not have been possible if I had not been actively supported – despite regular internal resistance – by the staff of the departments concerned; because external expertise can only have a positive effect at all if it recognises the expertise that is always available internally, supplements it but in no way – and here lies the core – negates it in a know-it-all manner.