As a proven senior level consultant to key management figures, Bill Grieve provides an insight into the value of high-performance executive level managers, the make-up and role of professional consultants, and the pitfalls and fallacies surrounding many consultants and consulting firms.
Since time began, rulers, leaders and managers have looked to consultants or “wise men”, as they were once known, for confirmation that they are going in the right direction and doing the right thing. The relationship between executives, managers and consultants is a vital component in successful management, and leading executives and managers have a high regard for consultants who meet their expectations.
The High Value of Senior Management and Strategy
Just as the most critical piece of safety equipment on board an aircraft is a well-trained and experienced pilot, so too the skilled, experienced head of a company, normally the CEO is the most important figure in the successful operation of a company. The CEO takes the executive vision, decides on the strategy and direction, approves the tactics required and takes the full responsibility when doing so to shoulder accountability.
CEOs and senior level management executives constantly face the uncertainty of the future, changing market environments and the perpetual volatile risks of doing business and it is easy to liken them to race winning rally car drivers. They have knowledge, skills, and experience, are supported by teams and equipment, and are selected, appointed, and expected to orchestrate the available organisation and resources at their disposal to produce efficiency, profitably and consistent achievements and results in the times given and to anticipate, evaluate, negotiate, and steer through the ever-changing route they take to ensure the desired results and expected executive outcomes. Driving a high-performance vehicle at high speed across rough and often unchartered terrain is daunting and a good rally driver relies heavily on the input and directions from his navigator who, having carefully assessed and researched the route to be taken knows that the driver is fully reliant on advice that is accurate, useful, and up-to-date delivered in time to make critical decisions whilst performing at high speed - this is his consultant.
Business leadership structures are often depicted in organigrams showing the vertical hierarchy and the matrix of interdependent service component elements that work together to create functionality and productivity. However, any executive will benefit from reading “The Constitution” written by Walter Bagehot in 1867 – this demonstrates when viewed in context, the relationships between The Monarchy “the dignified part” (the company executive), The Government “the efficient functioning part” (the de facto management of company activities/operations and all related aspects) and the employees and the public (the workers, consumers, clients, and the target market) all functioning in unison to achieve the desired outcomes - profitability, stability, expansion and high-quality delivery of services across all areas at all levels.
What makes a good management consultant?
The primary function of a consultant is to give advice – good advice, that can be relied on to make critical decisions. A consultant therefore needs to know the subject(s) they are advising on well. In addition, he/she needs to stay abreast of technology and developments a consultant needs to fill his “knowledge basket” from the best available resources – the best courses, and not just membership of appropriate bodies but regular participation and regular attendance of local and international webinars and events specific and relevant to the business to stay up-to-date and current.
A good senior management consultant not only acts as a navigator and fact finder but also as a “bodyguard” and as the eyes and ears of the CEO defending against the three elements capable of destroying any relationship or organisation –
Two Golden Rules for Consultants
The pitfalls and mistakes of appointing inappropriate consultants
Caveat Emptor. Some consulting companies will provide consultants who are temporarily appointed to facilitate full billing. A fill in consultant who may be just a space filler is common – it is like buying a donkey dressed up as a racehorse. Some individual consultants are like this as well – an expensive label on a cheap bottle. In almost every organisation I have been in, I have found the legacies of previous consultants – in cupboards full to the brim of often unrealistic, inappropriate, clumsily put together proposals and plans – none of which ever saw the light of day but were paid for in full - “A wonderful wardrobe of clothes presented most of which were out of fashion, out of season, too big, too small, wrong colour, wrong size or just plain bad.
Salim Al Aydh over the years has epitomised the apex of professionalism in management and has always demonstrated what can be termed “the loneliness of the long-distance runner”. In all the years I have worked for and known him, he was an executive management force to be reckoned with, a champion of positive change and a challenger to the fiercest oncomers in any situations. His skill, experience, knowledge, calmness in crisis and exceptional memory coupled with top tier education and hands on working knowledge makes him a CEO of high energy, intelligence, and integrity and beyond reproach when it comes to ethics in business.
Best Management Tool Observed – Relentless well-structured and managed internal collaboration meetings, and concise, relevant specific lines of questioning.
“Management in organisations is like a skin that needs to be scrubbed regularly to remove dead areas and keep the whole layer effective, functional, and healthy.”
Salim Al Aydh
Having worked with excellent high-performance CEOs, witnessing the way each one generates the necessary support from service resources is educational. CEOs do demonstrate some similar characteristics such as being demanding, having high expectations and of course commanding honesty, loyalty, respect, and reliability. Of those that I have worked with, some stand out more than others and working for/with them has been an education of an unparalleled nature. They are clear examples that good leaders inspire, educate and enlighten along the route often lifting people with them as they rise.
Mutlaq Al Morished is a commanding figure with a matching personality who leads with a magnetic, confident, and inspiring charm, supported by substantial international academic achievement and historical management successes. Mr. Mutlaq demonstrates leadership at the highest level, uses logic and facts as steering points and is well respected and admired throughout the region and the international business community in his fields of expertise. He is also an active board member for several leading companies in the region.
Best Management Tool Observed – Employee Empowerment.
“I like to encourage all the people at Tasnee to deliver their best and I try to find ways to support and empower them as do all the management at Tasnee.”
Mutlaq Al Morished
Those wishing to get in touch with Bill Grieve can do so via email: [email protected]