How much do those words strike fear into the hearts of the average executive?
Shouldn’t we be enthusiastic about organisations that are willing to change? Experience has always shown we have to constantly adapt to survive. And many companies now try to get ahead of that requirement, and make changes proactively so as to thrive.
That’s what restructuring, efficiency and cost-cutting is all about.
In fact, if you’re not actively making these changes … well, maybe you should worry about that.
Between analysts, the media, investors, customers and suppliers there are lots of people out there speculating about your business. Probably more than the people in your business. So what are you doing to stay ahead of the market and ahead of the speculators?
We are very interested to see the UK’s Management Consultancies Association(MCA) reporting in 2014 that consulting revenues were up in the UK. And they are up particularly in restructuring, efficiency and cost-cutting. They rose ahead of the broader economy. For some that might seem wrong, but it’s really an indication of ambition and change.
And we see growth in consulting fees as a leading indicator of broader growth in the economy. Because when businesses are adapting and adjusting in a proactive way (which tends to involve getting external advice) then you can be sure the ambitions and strategies are projecting growth.
Three thoughts on the changing consulting market and on ‘restructuring, efficiency and cost-cutting'(1) :
1. Growth is coming in unexpected places
The MCA show retail and wholesale as being areas of significant growth. Which the still-wounded High Streets might seem to belie. But growth in the retail sector has always been backed by innovation, and there is a lot of innovation online and on the High Street at the moment. Lots. Like Tiger stores, and their movable, format, and the increasing number of independent cafes with great coffee, and heartfelt, home-cooked food.
2. It’s less about the strategic plan and more about implementation
Research shows that is where consulting is going at the moment. And we would wholeheartedly back that up. The ability to design good strategies is important, and there are many people who wish to do this. But our experience suggest that most strategies are good strategies. It is in the implementation where strategies tend to fail. That is why we are not surprised to see a greater emphasis on implementation.
That’s also the focus of what we do: successfully implement change.
3. Good implementation support is hard to find
Having said all that, we know that businesses still struggle to implement change effectively. We see it regularly. The value promised by change programmes – restructuring, efficiency and cost-cutting – is illusive. More often than not the changes aren’t delivered.
Delivering value in implementation requires strong change management support. Leaders need to be engaged. The direction of travel needs to be clearly communicated. Plans need to be coordinated. And more.
Restructuring, efficiency and cost-cutting are serious endeavours. They are needed to make business grow. They help ensure every sector is able to grow and people can continue to prosper. But they need consultancy support and they need to be implemented properly.
(1) With acknowledgement and thanks to the MCA’s UK Consulting Industry Statistics 2014