Continuing our #IWD Spotlight Series, we speak to Irial O'Farrell, an accomplished strategy consultant and change management expert, with 25+ years experience of developing managers, designing organisational processes, implementing change and driving success.
1. Why did you decide to go independent?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I think it was just a matter of time before I went independent!
2. What are the specific benefits that you, as an independent, offer your clients? How do you explain the value your expertise brings?
Since I shape the solutions I offer, I regularly bring in new ideas, new models and approaches that benefit my clients. My expertise in abstract reasoning allows me to make sense of models and theories, allowing me to bring huge value to my clients by helping them make sense of their own challenges and providing tangible solutions and guidance, to reach their goals.
3. Why do you think there is increasing global demand for independent expertise?
One reason is that organisations often only require this type of expertise for a period of time so it allows them the freedom to access the right expertise at the right time, without committing to long-term costs. Another reason is that the internal organisational culture has more of an influence on employees than on independent experts. An independent expert can get away with saying things an employee might not.
4. Describe a recent or successful assignment in terms of scope, duration and any particular highlights in the outcomes.
One recent assignment was short & intense... but really enjoyable. In terms of the project, it was somewhat unusual, so when I was initially scoping it out, it was hard to determine how much work and time would be required. Luckily, the client could see the value I was bringing and the high standard of work and was more than happy to extend the number of days. I'm not sure they had fully realised the intensity of the work either, so we were both in the same boat. While it was short and sweet, it really felt like I was part of the team and we were in it together. Seeing the outcomes of the project come to life was very exciting, the feedback from the users was great and there was a real sense that we had built a useful asset to the organisation.
5. What is your favourite thing to do when you are not on the clock?
I love reading, running and meeting up with friends, for a good old chin-wag. I also love to travel and explore new places and cultures.
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