Being a management consultant I am often asked if there is a specific industry or line of business that I specialize in or focus on. My answer is always no. In my experience, when working with a company, the details may vary depending on the industry. However, the types of goals that are set, the issues/roadblocks that are encountered, and the desire to streamline/improve generally remain the same regardless of the company or the industry.
I always take the time to really understand where my clients and perspective clients are coming from. What their goals are, what details may be more specific to their industry or unique to their company, and what actions have already been taken in efforts to achieve their goals. Its all about building the big picture. From there, my consulting work can truly begin creating and executing a plan to help my clients achieve their goals fulfilling Kinard Consulting’s mission to make companies better.
One of the principles that is a part of my foundation as a consultant is understanding the organizational life cycle. When analyzing through the lens of the life cycle, things can be seen more clearly. In my experience, the best organizational life cycle model that I have seen was created by Dr. Mary Lippitt. Dr. Lippitt is the Founder and President of Enterprise Management Ltd. and throughout her career she has transformed and has done extensive research within organizations. Her experience and research, combined with a model presented by her father and his colleagues, Dr. Lippitt created a six-stage organizational cycle (see below).
This model helps to facilitate my process as a consultant and it can be used by organizations and the leaders within them to set goals, develop strategies, clarify a direction, improve communication, and resolve conflict. As a leader, understanding where you are as an organization can go a long way when it is time to make a decision for the organization. Each phase of the life cycle presents certain conditions which impacts decision making. Similar to the cycle of the seasons throughout the year. You wouldn’t make the exact same decisions in the summer that you made in the winter, the conditions are different. Things such as clothing, activities, and interest change. Ultimately, the context of the situation changes the decisions that we make and how we respond overall. This isn’t limited to the organization as a business, but this goes for the people within the organization too. This model can help facilitate conversation leading to a better understanding of thoughts and perspectives.
In my experience, organizations often have issues navigating through the life cycle. There are a multitude of reasons why these challenges arise and depending on where the organization is in the cycle a variety of aspects can be impacted including the cycle for the organization itself. This is one of the reasons why organizational and mental agility are so important. The ability to assess, make decisions, and shift the organization quickly can be the difference in moving the organization onto the next phase of the cycle or the cycle ending all together.