Consulting Playbook: Collect Best Practices to Take the Lead and Score Consistently

by Hélène Laffitte | Jul 25, 2016 | Consulting Playbook, Strategy & Management

Welcome to our new series, the Consulting Playbook, a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance.

Under today’s dynamic markets and changing technologies, companies must be highly adaptable and respond quickly to changes. The Executives are responsible for devising such a plan to prepare the firm for unanticipated scenarios. The difficulty is how—How to come up with all the viable options? How to cherry pick the best options? How to effectively source the external resources? How to execute the plan flawlessly?

The Consulting Playbook is the go-to guide for answering these questions. It consists of case write-ups covering a variety of topics in the managerial sphere, offering an exhaustive range of approaches, programs and actions that companies can execute under different situations. Like a sports playbook, the Consulting Playbook intends to help the executive team devise a game plan that will elevate the game and allow the firm to compete at higher levels.

The strategies provided in the Playbook, however, are not one-size-fits-all, they need to be carefully selected and customized for a successful execution.

The Plays

In football, the team will define roughly 1,000 plays that cover all the offensive and defensive situations the team could face considering the team strategy, the game philosophy, and the resources. Players have to learn the Playbook by heart. Then, each week, the team selects 100 plays to prepare their game plan.

In the corporate world, the Consulting Playbook is an overview of the options that consulting can offer to companies. The right play in the right situation will help you get a competitive edge compared to your peers, diffuse complicated situations, bring your team together, or all of the above.

How do CEO outsmart the Competition?

The answer is: choosing the right plays. this is the single most important procurement your company makes. Just like the right coach and players make the winning team, the CEO and senior management can lead the company to execute the right plays.
The plays are descriptions of potential projects, built on the experience of consultants and clients. They explain the main purpose, when to use it, the advantages and risks, the main steps, the possible deliverables, the typical duration, and the definitions and conditions for success.

They cover a broad range of situations from growth plays (Growth Strategy, Ideation, Business Model Design, Pricing) to cost savings (Lean, Purchasing, Strategy, SG&A Optimization), or softer issues (Culture, CEO Succession, Team Effectiveness, 1st 100-Day Plan).

In order to select and execute the right plays, a company has to take into account its strategic context, its aspirations and resources before defining the right sequence, in other words its team philosophy and game strategy.

Defining the Team Philosophy and Game Strategy

The Playbook is a resource that doesn’t run itself. The key element to success lies within truly understanding your team philosophy and game strategy which will help you build a winning game plan for your team.

Identifying your team philosophy—your company vision and culture—provides the foundation for your game plan choices. Your company’s culture defines what are the dos and the don’ts of your company. This is essentially the team approach. The most important aspect of defining your team philosophy and game strategy is aligning your company’s mission, vision, values, and culture to be woven into the very fabric of the “uniform” each player wears on game day.  Some projects will be too disruptive and/or off-limits and some will be the preferred options as they follow the path of least resistance.

Your company’s strategy—your strategic priorities—combined with your philosophy define your approach and your endgame. Perhaps this is a year for re-building the team’s core or maybe your group of veterans is primed to make a run at it and win it all. Here’s where the best coaches understand the strengths and experiences of their teams combined with analyzing the game situation and align their team in the right position moving forward.

Equipped with your team philosophy and game strategy, you can narrow down the list of plays that are relevant for your company and you can move to the game plan.

Keys to Success

Company Executives should know the Playbook intimately within their function to understand their options. Procurement Team Leaders should know the Playbook by heart to support and advise Company Executives as they make procurement selections.

Developing the Game Plan

Indeed, all the plays are not applicable to all the situations. Every industry, and every function have a limited number a plays that make sense. But then each company has to select the set of plays that will be relevant for them.

Every game can require a different game plan to win. Team leaders understand, too, that the potential responses from the opposing team can change. A strong team will pick the plays that maximize their chance to reach the end zone while simultaneously allowing only a limited set of options for the opposing team to adapt on the field. Besides, plays can be interdependent and sequential. With the Playbook in hand as a ready reference, the team is ready to evaluate which plays best meet their objectives in the moment.

The game plan also places the team in position to: pivot in response to the opposing team’s moves, take advantage of opportunities that pop up unexpectedly, and—perhaps most importantly—ensure that the right team members and the team structure, or organization, exists to execute each play flawlessly.

Get Ready to Build your own Game Plan

Stay tuned to our series of posts that, taken together, will help you design your future game plans, the best tactics to take the lead and score consistently.


About The Consulting Playbook

The Consulting Playbook is a collection of posts designed to offer insights into how businesses and their executives can utilize consulting as a strategic lever to boost performance. Each Consulting Playbook post is broken down into a few elements: Case Study, Additional Information regarding the technical application, and Additional Links related to the topic.
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Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform and author of “Smart Consulting Sourcing”, a step by step guide to getting the best ROI from your consulting. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting.

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