What is leadership consultancy? Let’s ask another question: Does leadership matter? For every instance where leadership plays a part, leadership consultancy has a place and potential for impact.
Organisations are shaped by leaders who in turn are shaped by the structures and culture of the organisation they are part of. It’s a circular system of influence. One that is difficult to accurately assess when you’re caught up in it. That’s where leadership consultancy comes in.
Leadership consultancy leverages your unique strengths
Andrea Cardillo, a TPC Managing Partner in Italy, defines leadership consultancy as ‘a consultative and facilitative process to support organisations to understand what leadership models and structures would best serve the business strategy, leveraging on the unique traits and strengths of a particular culture.’
Leadership consultancy is a holistic way of looking at your leadership capacity and turning it to your ultimate advantage. It is not a training program, nor is it executive coaching, It is a way of tackling the entire system of leadership and aligning it with what the organisation is and aspires to be.
You can’t transfer or replicate solutions from one organisation to another. For this reason, consulting is about having good conversations – an in-depth dialogue between the external consultant and internal leaders. We always need to find a uniquely nuanced strategy that is optimised for the situation. And this comes from digging deep into the organisation’s own leadership solutions, history and potential.
Leadership consultancy discovers potential
Often organisations harbour a huge capacity for leadership, but only a fraction of it ever sets sail. It’s only through asking difficult questions that we can understand this untapped potential.
The right questions reveal where assumptions are holding an organisation back. For instance, people may assume that leadership is centralised. That leadership is only for senior managers, while the role of everyone else is compliance.
We have found that many managers assume leadership is not a primary part of their role. When we asked managers in one organisation to rank the priorities of their role, most listed managing and the completion of tasks in their top two. Very few managers ranked leadership high. Because they didn’t prioritise it, they did not invest in it, and they were less likely to display initiative or make courageous decisions.
Often people associate leadership with a set of skills they may or may not be developing. But they don’t realise the importance of taking ownership of their role as a leader. If you don’t perceive yourself as a leader, you inevitably will not act like one. And if an organisation is largely made up of people who do not act like leaders, their leadership capacity is stunted.
If we’re going to find, harness and maximise the leadership capacity already in our businesses, we need leadership consultancy to bring our potential to light.
Leadership consultancy brings awareness
Leadership consultancy helps you intentionally realign your leadership model with your aspirations, so that your structure doesn’t unconsciously distort your vision.
Even if you don’t believe you have a leadership model, you do. Even if you don’t intentionally think about it, its impact will unintentionally affect everything in your business, particularly in HR.
Everything from your talent management strategies to compensation and benefit streams can be linked back to your leadership model. Any recruitment strategy you create will also be inescapably influenced by it. Engagement, operations, financial performance – everything is affected. Leadership consultancy helps to uncover this correlation
Leadership consultancy makes organisations robust
No single human can navigate through life while remaining unchanged. How much more the case for organisations, which are formed hundreds or thousands of people, all experiencing different personal changes. Once you factor in the effects of internal growth, departures and shifts in the market, it is clear that no organisation is ever in stasis.
Leadership consultancy helps guide businesses through change, preserving their best qualities while enabling them to stay effective. Businesses cannot just do as they always did because a strategy formed two years ago is unlikely to have the exact same effect this year. This would have been relevant for any organisation that experienced a significant shift, such as a small business doubling in size. But given the current pandemic, every business faces huge change. Our strategies and leadership models must be adapted, so we can navigate through this difficult time.
The irony is that by refusing to adapt, you can actually lose the unique qualities that make your organisation special. But at the same time, you cannot move forward authentically without reference to the past. This is why leadership consultancy is essential. It helps untangle what is important to an organisation’s identity from attitudes that prevent the organisation thriving through change. It keeps the core of the organisation robust.
For more information, or to discuss your own development, please get in touch.
Navigating change is now more important than ever. This article is part of a six-part TPC Leadership original series on leadership consultancy – and its role in helping organisations engage with the bigger picture while staying adaptable to the present moment. (Next in the series: Stop worrying about leadership styles – start thinking about leadership structures).