What a consultant says and what he/she really means!
It’s a fact of corporate life that external consultants have come to play a significant role in helping many organisations shape or implement new organisation strategies, structures and systems. Understanding how external consultants operate is key to successfully managing critical projects and in turn obtaining value for money. The day to day responsibility for managing these external professionals often falls to internal specialists who work in the HR, IT or finance spaces.
Finance Business Partners are like many other support specialists extremely “time-poor.” Given the highly presurised weekly and monthly cycles that most work under, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the act of just “doing” as opposed to thinking and then influencing strategically. Our work at PPI with many functions reveals some key action points for finance professionals to look out for and execute.
Enabling finance people to engage in wider business discussions about how their understanding of the numbers can influence real business outcomes and effect organisational change.
In effect “speaking truth to power” means having the capacity and ability to take a stand on an important issue. It means giving yourself the power to dissent in the face of greater strength and power.
As business is dominated by cash flows, costs and profitability the finance function has traditionally been immune to any form of corporate criticism. Money is the driver for many organisations and as finance retains full control of this role and very few have dared to criticize its brand as the most central and critical of all support functions. But times are a changing and today we are seeing the once revered finance function being subjected to review. Relentless cost pressures and global competition are forcing organisations to now look at how their finance functions operate. We have probably all heard the classic jibes of “the bean-counters or digit heads” but nowadays leading edge functions are instigating real change.
HR professionals need to be skilled in process consulting for addressing business problems and challenges. Here is an overview of the skills involved.
Experiential learning as elucidated by David Kolb, the well-known American educational theorist and Psychology professor, is the process or having a real lifelike experience and then through reflection forming personal conclusions on what will work for you. His well-known and widely used model has four steps:
Mark Thomas, one of PPI’s Lead Consultants and Faculty on Strategy / HR and Business Partnering sets out a challenging list of behaviours and actions that he believes are critical for today’s high impact HR Business Partners.
In this article we look at the skills a business partner in today’s leading companies requires to have the appropriate impact. It will provide you with an opportunity to reflect and assess how you measure up. What do you do well and what might you need to develop or add to your skill set?