Management consultants work with a wide variety of clients providing independent advice and guidance. They are called in from time to time for specific assignments as part of normal management practice in a similar fashion to architects, designers and lawyers being engaged when the need arises. They frequently tackle problems which confront any individual client only once in a decade or more. They can assist a new business start-up, and work with established businesses supporting them to develop, grow and become more competitive. Consultants can operate as specialists or generalists, but all typically provide services across a variety of industry sectors in the following areas:
- Programme management
- Human resources
- Change management.
Management consultancy firms can range from those that offer end-to-end solution provision, to niche firms that offer specialist skills and knowledge. Whether specialists or generalists, consultants use four key resources: objectivity, broad experience, analytical skill and full-time attention to each assignment.
- Fulfilling business needs that cannot be undertaken successfully by the client due to lack of time or other resources
- Using their independence to manage difficult or political situations on behalf of their client, often using change management expertise and human resource knowledge
- Gaining an independent and innovative overview of businesses in order to identify areas of improvement or development, stimulating the client to change or adopt desired practices.