Just about everyone on our team has been in consulting for many years – in some cases decades - and have seen how markets change, technology evolves, and performance fluctuates. As consultants, by nature of the role – change is what we create and encourage our clients to do. Never has being creative, adaptive and flexible been more critical than during the world’s largest disruption from the pandemic. Over the last several months, numerous business contacts and friends have asked us how everything is going, whether our clients are still engaged, and were we still able to connect with potential clients? Our answer is YES, but in a different way.
Navigating a global client list was our first point of focus. Which countries were open, which were in lockdown? Were our contacts and clients safe? Were their families doing ok?
Having worked with clients largely in a remote way for many years, the sudden ‘world on pause’ as we have been experiencing, is not completely new to us, but to those we worked and partnered with, it was a quite an extensive and exhaustive undertaking.
We often speak with our clients about how it’s going with working from home. Many were thrust suddenly into a remote environment with children, pets, space constraints, other family members now suddenly at home too, along with hiccups from technology logistics. Knowing the numerous challenges one can encounter when work life shifts, we have done our best to offer suggestions based on our own experiences. We empathize with our clients as we too, despite years of working virtually, have encountered similar adjustments from the online schooling and dueling conference calls, to creating multiple office spaces under one roof and ensuring enough power strips are available.
Our initial focus was on the safety, health and emotional well-being of all client personnel and their families. Once the initial dust settled, knowing our clients’ teams were safe and had made the initial remote transition; we called, we emailed, and most importantly, we listened. Our role as a consultant had not changed, but the needs of our clients had. Our clients are straddling triaging daily events which emerge despite the best of planning; while also regularly seeking insight as to how are things going to recover.
The questions we are hearing are largely consistent from our clients around the world, in different size organizations and business units:
- How is our line of business going to close the gap on financial targets for 2020 and into 2021?
- How can we identify funding for the digital projects which were just a few months ago, sitting on a project list and have now jumped to the front of the line?
- How are operational expenses going to be covered as staffing and affiliated technology costs have skyrocketed?
- How do I get access to information quicker and make changes faster to address the immediate needs of my account holders and customers?
We are wrestling with similar questions ourselves every day. How can we best help our clients navigate and emerge stronger from this ‘pause’? Over the last several months we have:
- Focused on providing ability to interpret data for our clients and shared the results
- Developed strategy implementation approaches to help speed up projects
- Prepared business cases to advance strategies
- Reviewed operational expenses in detail to find ways to save and;
- Expanded our service offerings to include new areas of opportunity which would not disrupt consumer interactions or satisfaction, all with the goal of helping our clients recover faster.
So, when we are asked how we are still consulting during a pandemic; our answer is: If I were the client, I would leverage all the resources I had. We are there to be an additional resource to drive improved performance. We have always believed we can do hard things and this environment proves it.