Herd of buffalo moving in dry plains

How does the shift in markets and economy impact consulting firms? Normally people will react and default into survival mode similar to a herd effect. Is this the best strategy? Is there any other way that your team can respond proactively and effectively to turn challenges into opportunities, moving forward while others are struggling to survive?

Many years ago I was at a conference and Robert Kiyosaki author of Rich Dad Poor Dad was speaking, he said that the key to being a successful investor is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. “If everyone is selling you buy and if the herd is buying you sell” – It sounds easy but it’s hard to do as a matter of fact…. Herd behaviours are common when the temptation to get caught up in what everyone else is doing is enormous and we do it on auto pilot.  Keeping immune to the herd effect and doing things differently takes courage and confidence. Tough times often force us into an involuntary organisation health check and identify what we need to focus on as an organisation to be successful long term. Unfortunately however, many of us do the exact opposite by merely reacting passively to survive, allowing change and challenges to escalate into crisis.

If your firm is feeling the sting of a changing market, shift your perception and see it as a chance to shine and consolidate your strengths. Do the opposite to what everyone else is doing! Focus on your key business pillars and apply some simple success strategies to each of these.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on 5 common business pillars:

  1. Strategy – challenge your current strategy and ask yourself are we really doing the right things or are we simply doing ‘business as usual’? Test your current strategy and make sure it is right for the current market and your industries. Apply the 80/20 rule and think ‘low effort high reward’
  2. Structures, Systems and Processes – ensure the business is set up with efficient systems and processes and that large amounts of time are not wasted.  Make your systems and processes lean and effective. Focus on one system or process at a time, review it and look for innovative ways to improve and simplify things.
  3. People – be bold and brave in your communication by being open, honest and realistic about what lies ahead. You should expect the best but be realistic around what could happen. Encourage people to get involved and ensure they know how to shift from identifying problems to owning solutions. Communicate the strategy in an aspirational way by giving everyone ownership of something and empower people at all levels to make a difference and lead the change.
  4. Clients – the loyalty and support of your clients is critical during challenging times.  Deliver great work to them and identify how you can continue to exceed their expectations. Find ways to add value and solve their problems.  Your clients are your best marketing team so it is important to work closely with them during challenging times.
  5. Costs – The area that gets the most attention during challenging times is costs, but it is not always approached in the right way.  You should identify which costs can be removed from the business without impacting the business long term.  Invest in your most important assets and strategies and remove any costs that don’t match the criteria.

With a strategic plan in hand, it becomes much easier for you to wear the storms. Don’t let fear and the ‘herd mentality’ rule you in tough times, just take the risks cleverly and do the opposite! As Robin Sharma says “Fear only becomes powerful when you give it power”