Have you ever wondered how KPMG, Baker & McKenzie, or any global advisory firm provides the same quality of work, no matter the jurisdiction? Or how, Subway, Starbucks or any global retailer guarantees both consistent service and consistent food quality?
Behind every successful advisory engagement and delicious sandwich or beverage is one thing: methodology.
Methodology is the best-of-class process that defines, step-by-step, how to deliver on a client requirement. In the advisory world, it is the set of questions that an advisor must ask, supported by a deep knowledge base of tools, forms, and (hopefully) research. Methodology is not a fixed set of answers that apply equally to each and every client that walks through the door.
A robust methodology is built by incorporating what is learned from every assignment. It has an impact on staff training. It impacts marketing and business development. It directly reduces engagement risk for the advisor and the client. Sound methodology is what helps Subway and Starbucks define their brand globally, yet deliver locally. Over time, methodology becomes a competitive advantage.
Without methodology – or with a sparse one – the best one can do is “re-learn” lessons on each engagement and at each touchpoint. With methodology comes improved effectiveness and better efficiency.
This week’s action plan: Is your organization’s methodology being used for strategic advantage? Do you use it in your marketing? If so, are all staff trained on it? Is it fully documented? This week, strengthen your organization by updating (codifying?) your methodology.
Insight #1: Behind every methodology is one more thing – great people. They need to be smart enough to follow the standards, yet have enough judgment to know when to deviate from them. Only by coloring outside of the lines will they be able to deliver precisely to your requirements… and extend and deepen the methodology itself.
Insight #2: Do you use methodology as criteria for choosing your advisors? If their process looks a bit disorganized, know that it will be the same experience when they are working for you.