How an independent workforce can mean the difference between strategic success and failure

February 8, 2017 Kia Davis

30 second summary:

  • Digital disruption and uncertain markets means that most companies will go through large-scale change programmes at some point
  • Making these work relies on strong execution
  • Independent consultants are well placed to make change take hold effectively
  • While a strategy firm might look after the design and groundwork it is more viable to retain an independent for the full rollout
  • Talmix can help you find the independents to make change take hold

Corporations have never faced more uncertainty. From long-established markets upended by smartphone apps to a geopolitical landscape that shifts overnight, many companies are facing a new reality. Competing effectively means getting the right strategy, shape, and culture, all in a timely manner. One way to do this is through a large-scale change programme, which can transform a company and prepare it for upcoming challenges. 

Execution, then, becomes critical. A recent article by the Harvard Business Review’s blog identified an organisation’s people as the single biggest reason that a strategy succeeds or fails: “…a poorly-executed strategy, no matter how clever, is worthless.”  Failing to get the right people acting in a coordinated way on the right areas risks completely invalidating all the hard work that was done. 

This remains a considerable challenge. Anxiety over new change programmes is to be expected - as employees see the organisation change, they may question their role in the new company or wonder what other changes are ahead. Others may simply disagree with the decisions made. These attitudes aren’t likely to change quickly, and are especially common in teams most affected by the change. 

Making change work

That’s where an independent workforce can play an important role. Bringing in professionals with the skills and experience to execute change programmes can fill a gap when and where it’s needed most. These workers act quickly and efficiently to turn the new strategies and culture into a reality, translating complex concepts into practical behaviours and ways of working.

How independents can fit into your strategy

While at a strategy consulting firm I worked on a strategy refresh for a global pharmaceutical company. The strategy included new market segments, new target therapies, an organisational redesign, and overhauling the performance management system. The plans affected thousands of people at more than a dozen sites. Highly complex, the strategy took more than a year to design. Failing to fully implement the strategy would have put the company at risk of being out-competed by larger competitors as well as nimble upstarts. 

But while my firm was responsible for the design and instrumental to the initial groundwork for implementation, the size and cost of the team was too much to retain us for the full strategy rollout. Fortunately, the company also employed several outside consultants who had deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and experience implementing complex strategy projects. A decade later, the company has gone from a Top-10 global position to a Top-5 position by market cap, and remains a leader for diagnostics and treatment of one of the world’s largest therapy areas. Without these talented outsiders to embed our strategic designs after we had left, it’s unlikely the company would have seen the full range of benefits from the work.

Locating your talent pool

Finding independent consultants that can manage the implementation of strategy is as simple as using a dedicated platform such as Talmix. As the home of independent business talent, Talmix serves as an on demand workforce ready for projects ranging from short-term to long-term. Their candidates have the background and experience to implement even the most complex of projects. And because many of the consultants on the platform have experience in larger strategy firms, they bring the rigour and skills of a top-tier strategy firm to the role of an independent consultant. Their unique perspectives, broad experience, and wide range of skills represent a significant opportunity for companies seeking to access talent in a cost-efficient and timely manner. 

Great strategy requires flawless execution. And that’s why expert consultants can be the difference between achieving an organisation’s goals or falling short. To find out more about how to find independent consultants for your sector get in touch.

About the Author

Kia Davis

Kia has over 15 years in corporate and small business strategy, working closely with CEOs, business owners, investors, government agencies, and NGOs around the world on high-impact growth projects. With a focus on customer-centric strategy and innovative growth, Kia has published thought pieces on the role of disruptive technology in the future, and recently authored the strategy book Flashpoint 100: Radical Business Growth in 100 Days. Kia holds a BA in consumer psychology from Yale University and an MBA from Insead.

More Content by Kia Davis
Previous Article
How independent consultants help you navigate uncertainty
How independent consultants help you navigate uncertainty

Within a period of uncertainty like this it may be wise to reevaluate your strategy in order to maintain yo...

Next Article
Go outside established networks to yield the best talent
Go outside established networks to yield the best talent

Stay within your industry network and you could be missing out on the benefits that outside consultants can...