Looking to the future – succeeding in implementation consulting
From university to the consulting industry – many graduates dream of a career that takes them into the world of consulting, with its many challenges and changes, but also steep learning curves and development paths. But what does it take to succeed in a strategy implementation consultancy like acondas?
To answer this question, we spoke to Managing Director Andreas Florissen. He is one of the two founders of acondas and has worked in the consultancy industry for more than 23 years – from strategy consulting to in-house consulting for an international energy company to running his own strategy implementation consultancy. He emphasises that the requirements for implementation consultants are very different from those of classic strategy consultants.
Strategy consulting is primarily about developing concepts and solutions to help companies overcome business challenges or seize market opportunities. New or adapted strategies have a long-term and sustainable impact on a company’s business models, value chains, product portfolios or customer interactions. To this end, strategy consultants bring a valued “outside perspective” to key strategy discussions, providing insights and outlooks on market, competition, customer or technology developments.
The situation is different in implementation consulting: Here it is a matter of bringing new strategies into the company and bringing them to life. A strategy can only be implemented successfully and sustainably if all employees concerned have internalised the strategic changes and have adapted their actions and thinking in their day-to-day business accordingly. Strategy implementation begins with adapting a strategy to the company’s reality and “translating” it into a multitude of individual implementation issues and tasks. The implementation tasks are then detailed, evaluated, prioritised and monitored in terms of content and timing. At the same time, change measures are initiated and implemented to promote understanding and insight among the employees concerned, and to empower and motivate them to change their behaviour. Strategy implementation therefore always requires active project and change management.
Andreas emphasises the importance of translation skills: “In implementation consulting, it is crucial to break down strategic concepts into concrete, tangible subtasks. This ensures that everyone involved in the implementation understands the strategy and the associated changes and can put them into practice. Our ability to detail, plan, evaluate and delegate these individual work packages, and then bring them back together to form the big picture, is what sets us apart and clearly differentiates us from traditional strategy consultancies.”
A high level of methodological competence and structured thinking is required. Flexibility and creativity also play an important role in implementation consulting. Another important aspect that distinguishes implementation consulting from traditional strategy consulting is the high degree of interaction and cooperation with the company’s employees. Andreas emphasises that implementation consultants must have a strong sense of empathy and communication skills in order to be able to communicate clearly and convincingly at all levels – from the board of directors to operations.
At acondas, we look for a balanced mix of hard and soft skills when selecting new employees. In addition to analytical, structuring, technical and methodological skills, we pay equal attention to communication and team skills, personality and ‘fit’ with our company and the position in question. In this way, we ensure that our new colleagues are not only professionally qualified, but also fit well into the team.
Overall, a career in implementation consulting requires a high degree of structuring ability, methodological competence, flexibility, creativity and communication skills. If you have these prerequisites and are willing to take on new challenges, you can be very successful in this demanding field of consulting.