How Consulting Firms Win - Ease Yourself In

June 15, 2020

We recently released a new best practice guide to overcoming project and business performance challenges entitled, How Consulting Firms Win – The Definitive Playbook. It defines the most common areas consulting firms find competitive gains (project delivery, growth, profitability, and talent), and provides actionable insights and checklists to help your firm put its own successful plays into place.


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Whether you’ve just downloaded it now, or you downloaded it recently and are having a tough time deciding the first performance area you’d like to tackle first, we would like to offer a few “get started” tips that might help you ease yourself in.

1. Self-Assessment is the First Step. Admitting there’s a problem is half the battle. Maybe uncovering where that problem sits in your organization is the other half. So we’ve created an Assessment Checklist (shown below) to help you find out where your performance issues (if any) reside.


Begin your Playbook journey using this checklist to ready yourself and your organization for process and performance upgrades – by placing a star next to the priority items you’d like to address in the coming months, and a check mark next to secondary items. You may also decide to limit yourself to only 3 check marked items to address each quarter or year. The key is to keep the Playbook actionable by being realistic about your firm’s capacity for change and allocating your time and resources accordingly.

The most commonly cited priority items on the Assessment Checklist include:

  • Project Delivery: We experience scope creep on many of our projects.
  • Growth: Our value proposition keeps changing /we have a hard time articulating our differentiators.
  • Profitability: Our margins have gotten thinner over the last five years.
  • Talent: Our talent is hard to retain—as soon as we hire new talent they are lured away by our competition.

Use the Assessment Checklist to ease yourself in to potential change by informing yourself and your organization of what issues are affecting the business. Then use the main chapters (project delivery, growth, profitability, and talent) and their respective checklists to devise a plan for your organization to pursue. You may find that you revisit the Assessment Checklist quarterly to check in on progress.

2. The Ability to Uncover Potential Improvements is What Keeps Your Firm Competitive. Let’s face it, the biggest, most successful consulting firms with the widest margins didn’t get there without looking at themselves in the mirror and admitting that change is needed periodically. Your ability to self-assess, and identify areas where other firms may be winning, is a healthy competitive business behavior.

3. “Exceptional” Means Just That.The results advised in How Consulting Firms Win are an exception to the rule, and should be approached as such. Competitive results are intended to be within reach for all consulting firms, but certainly not expected or appropriate for all firms. So you may approach the use of How Consulting Firms Win with a more reserved approach – by choosing one checkbox on each of the four main chapter checklists to work on.  Diving in to all four chapters at once and expecting exceptional results is ill-advised as well-informed upgrades to project and business performance are absolutely possible at a more steady, incremental rate of change.

Grab a cup of coffee and a pen and please download the Playbook to begin your Assessment Checklist if you haven’t already. Please comment below if you have questions or comments you’d like to us to address for your firm.