Our Chief Consulting Officer, Ruth Tank, talks to us about her passion for partnership
When I think of partnership, I think of an experience I had many years ago.
I went to interview the CFO of a large corporate client for a sponsorship piece I was doing to support their IT Transformation. I’d never met her before, and as she came in, it was clear that she was not happy!
She told me plainly that she didn’t see the point of the exercise and had not been given enough information ahead of time.
Oh dear! This was not the mood I wanted captured on film.
“It was a true piece of collaboration: she brought gravitas, insight and passion – and I enabled her to shine!”
I could have told her that the briefing notes had been in her inbox for a week. Or that her role as a sponsor was critical to the success of the project. But that wasn’t what she needed just then – and it wouldn’t help us get the right result.
Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “It sounds like I didn’t give you what you needed coming into this session. I’m sorry”, then said nothing – giving her space to think and compose herself. I reassured her that I had done this many times before and would guide her through the process.
We chatted, and gradually she warmed up – ultimately apologising for her behaviour at the beginning. She had come straight from an exceedingly difficult Board meeting.
I look back at the video we made together with pride. It was a true piece of collaboration: she brought gravitas, insight and passion – and I helped remove the blockers, enabling her to shine.
The Role of a Good Consultant: Help Clients Be the Best They Can Be
Why did I tell this story? Because the role of a good consultant, is to help our clients be the best they can be – both as individual human beings, and at organisational level. This means not only bringing our strategic expertise to provide insights, but also understanding what makes people tick – what each individual we engage with needs to be successful.
“A true partner will be able to enhance and complement the good, and mitigate the bad.”
Just like people, every organisation is different. Some have comprehensive 5-year strategies and compelling vision statements, but struggle to turn them into actionable plans. Others are drowning in data that stops them from finding what they need to function effectively. Some are lean and agile but have skill gaps which prevent them from accessing cutting-edge opportunities – and so lose out to competitors.
While there may be many organisations with one of these challenges, the exact solution for each will depend on factors which only an outsider can see with clarity. A true partner will be able to enhance and complement the good and mitigate the bad, tailoring each project to what the client needs now.
Ultimately, the difference between a good partner and a mediocre one is empathy. It’s seeing the patterns while also seeing what makes each organisation unique. And using that information to help the client to shine!
To learn more about the work that Ruth and the Digital Vision & Strategy team do, click here