Catalyst strives to be Collaborative Partners to our clients, a description often bestowed on our consulting engagements and relationships.

But, how does it work, and how do you get there?

Two realities are often at play within the consulting engagements we embark on.  The one talks to the level of definition of problems and currency available from our clients, i.e. whether a problem and consulting need is present now, or whether the problem may be anticipated in the future.  The other reality talks to the level of awareness and acknowledgement of the problem.  In some cases our clients are aware of an issue, and in some cases they may not be.

These two realities provide a useful framework to define our roles and mandates as Catalyst Consultants and could be described along the following four broad roles.

When clients are clear about the nature and definition of a business challenge, and this issue is present in the business at the time, a consulting engagement will require a Solutions Provider mindset.  The ability to engage at this level, creates currency and a base for further relationships to be established.

Should this engagement be successful, consultants are often invited to act as Strategic Advisors on issues and challenges anticipated in the future.  Again, in these instances a client is aware of the challenge, yet needs strategic advice on a suitable response or strategy.

These two roles and realities are common to most consulting engagements.  Where consulting becomes interesting, and often challenging, is where other issues / challenges are present, yet our clients are not aware of them.  In such engagements, we are often required to act as Supportive Challengers.  This is often where Catalyst is able to differentiate itself, as our ability to form meaningful relationships with our clients provide currency to challenge our clients in a real, supportive and authentic way.

The aspiration to be a Collaborative Partner, asks for a deliberate approach to one’s consulting style.  Many large, established firms have chosen the route of Option 1 as depicted below, i.e. getting there with bespoke solutions and extensive future research capabilities, but often lacking relationship and connection.

On the other hand, (often) smaller and more intimate consulting firms, have chosen the route of Option 2 in the model below, relying on relationship currency as the primary feature, yet often lacking the strategic impact.

The reality is, a consulting firm does not jump straight from solutions provider to Collaborative Partner overnight.  It asks for a careful, yet deliberate response to client engagements.

As Catalyst, we are currently building capabilities in both these options, as we realize the inherent strength in both.  We continue to work towards relationships where our Clients are faced with challenges, now and in the future, known and unknown.  We continue to aspire and work with clients who think of Catalyst as a default Collaborative Partner towards sustainable success.