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The Insight Based Business Consultation

IMG_0452For many years ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ has been a UK makeover show about food businesses. The chef comes along, analyses the restaurant’s issues, does some local market research and comes up with some very good ideas to solve the problem.

The analysis by Ramsay is often insightful and interesting. Frequently the biggest problem centres on a mindset issue, such as sticking to an outdated menu. Drawing on his analysis and his own expertise, Ramsay creates an action plan.

Surprisingly often the restauranteur fails to implement key parts of the very sound advice with predictable results. Why is that?

Recently I have heard 2 different business consultants – one in US health insurance and one in website analysis –  describe similar problems. They spent vast amounts of time analysing the client’s issues and coming up with user friendly action plans only to find, 6 months on, that none of their excellent suggestions have been adopted. Why is so much expensive advice just ignored?

A 3 Principles business consultation might appear to be similar but differs in some important ways.

The consultant is not necessarily an expert in the core business of the client organisation. In fact a lack of expertise can be an advantage. Questions coming from a beginner’s mind can be very revealing. A 3 Principles approach recognises that the client already has the solutions within them – they are just unable to see those solutions.

The consultant’s key expertise is in State of Mind. She or he can identify, and more importantly help the business identify, the state of mind issues which are almost always present in any chronic business challenge.

The process enables the manager or owner to understand the role of insight in solving, not just the presenting problem, but all business challenges. Insight in this sense is the kind of change that occurs, for example, in a smoker who moves from knowing he should quit, to actually stopping. It occurs upstream of good information. Even the best advice, such as Ramsay’s, can fail to land unless there is an insight, or moment of clarity within the client. Conversely once the client has such a moment of clarity, there is virtually no problem which is insoluble. What is particularly affirming for the client is that it is their own solutions which evolve insightfully.

In the abstract, 3 Principles Business coaching can sound very touchy-feely and elusive. In a real situation it is highly practical and commonly shows up in the bottom line, almost immediately. Whether that takes the form of growing client numbers, improving turnover or reducing costs, real tangible results are the usual outcome. And because the journey to those changed results often seems organic and effortless, its important to set clear, measurable goals in advance.

Some examples of outcomes that my clients and those of my colleagues have seen include a  more than doubling of fee income after one session, a 100% increase in turnover by a struggling division of a large engineering company in less than 9 months, and the successful management of a manufacturing company by the financial director after the key technical director suddenly went off on long term sick leave.

In each of these examples, the expertise and know-how came from the client or colleagues within the company. However the ability to reach creative solutions and see insightfully where the blocks lay, came from the unique approach that is a 3 Principles consultation.

3 thoughts on “The Insight Based Business Consultation

  1. Good post, Christian!

    Couple of questions for you:

    What if the client’s wisdom leads them to hire a “regular” business consultant (or restaurant consultant) to gain the knowledge they need? Isn’t it true that sometimes business owners need outside expertise?

    1. Good question, Jill. And certainly there are lots of issues which might require technical expertise: an accountant to advise on financial strategies or a web-designer to create a great website. But it the client has a ‘stuck’ mindset, they may not implement that advice fully or at all. An understanding of insight and state of mind can enable a business owner to move from technical knowledge to practical and effective application. To me, stuckness, chronic problems and apparently insurmountable external problems are where this approach comes into its own

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