Adjusting the Consulting Product Formula to Increase Client Value

Culture change to support business strategy expertGuest Blogger – Pat Schaeffer, Principal of Talent Strategy Partners (TSP).

In February’s post, Mike talked about the advancement of management consulting through better process. TSP is one of the first firms to use SchellingPoint’s consulting software to bring our consultant’s domain expertise to clients in a more complete, consistent, and efficient manner.

With backgrounds in Human Resources leadership at companies such as Campbell’s Soup and DuPont, and management consulting at Mercer HR Consulting, my co-founder and I have built a specialist consulting firm helping clients create the culture necessary to support their business goals.

Culture is hard to measure. And culture change is one of the most difficult transformations for organizations to create and sustain. When we learned of SchellingPoint, we saw an opportunity to revolutionize our consulting practice and client outcomes by creating a methodology for measuring culture and maximizing culture change.

We used SchellingPoint’s templating feature to capture our domain expertise as a reusable intellectual property asset for analyzing and adjusting organizational culture. We named it Culture EngineTM. Culture Engine provides several benefits for TSP and our clients:

    • Rather than just talking about our domain experience, we can display it in a tangible form clients can touch.
    • We can draw more accurate conclusions, and in minutes generate them as a client-ready report.
    • We now have a repeatable process, that can be taught, while still accommodating individual client nuances.
    • We can expose and effectively resolve key differences of opinion among client executives about leadership characteristics, business strategy, and other issues critical to their culture change.
    • Clients know they are getting the benefit of all our relevant knowledge, regardless of which consultant is on their project.
    • The SchellingPoint technology reduces their time investment, from sharing their opinions to designing the actions they need to take.
    • SchellingPoint’s innovations of the virtual dialogue, alignment analytics, expert system driven conclusions, goal and action design methods, for example, mean that the client’s solution doesn’t just feel right but is right.
    • It provides the data to explain and defend the logic and thinking behind recommended actions such as changing behaviors to create a culture that better supports the business plan.

SchellingPoint - first AI expert system for management consultants - JOECulture Engine has replaced our manual process of conducting and analyzing executive interviews; defining the profile of the culture that will best support the organization’s business strategy; identifying solutions, such as leader and staff behavior changes, to create and sustain that culture; and preparing a report of the results.

For example, our client, Main Line Health (MLH), has taken great advantage of SchellingPoint and Culture Engine.

Founded in 1985, MLH is a Philadelphia-region system of five hospitals – four acute care and one rehabilitation hospital – as well as a drug and alcohol treatment facility, a research facility, and a home health service. These formerly independent hospitals combined to gain efficiencies from unified system management, combined buying power, and more collaboration rather than competitive market tactics.

The organization has been highly successful in terms of patient care and satisfaction, as well as financial performance. However, US healthcare reform and market dynamics increased pressure for the health system to foster more holistic attitudes about policies, protocols, and practices across the hospitals, to drive deeper improvements in quality, safety, and financial performance.

In 2012, the revised business plan called for the examination of the system’s culture and sub-cultures, and Culture Engine was used to identify the necessary adjustments.

Using Culture Engine, we created profiles of the current and desired cultures. We tested like-mindedness about the business plan and gathered opinions about the leadership skills required to effectively execute it.

The primary outcome was a customized leadership competency model. The model defines, in clear behavioral terms, a blueprint of the expectations of people in the organization, from individual contributors through top organizational leaders. MLH integrated these competencies into all the human resources management processes of the organization, including selection, assessment, performance expectations, rewards, and development.

In the three years since the competency model was implemented and incorporated into all human resources management practices, CEO Jack Lynch and SVP HR, Paul Yakulis have reported the kind of results they had hoped for. They explain: “One example of cultural change driven by the Culture Engine process is ‘System-Wide Thinking’. With a focus on this competency, localized thinking and behavior is receding and is being replaced with initiatives to standardize clinical protocols across all facilities with the goal to achieve clinically integrated networks. Job rotations among the facilities are now becoming the norm and the sharing of best practices has become an organizational standard.”

They add another important outcome, “The competency ‘Developing Others’ drove the creation of the first-ever employee development process and kick-started the creation of a succession planning process that manages the organization’s talent from a System perspective, using a common definition of leadership.”

Management consulting gaining skills and going digitalLeveraging SchellingPoint to create a next-generation consulting process we have improved TSP’s people – process – technology mix to bring clients higher quality outcomes.

Plus, we enjoy our work more, bringing our talents to bear with the client while removing many of the hum-drum tasks of consulting projects.

SchellingPoint blog awarded Top 20 Consulting Blog by Feedpost

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