How to be your own management consultant - review

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Title: How to be Your Own Management Consultant
Edited by: Calvert Markham
Publisher: Kogan Page
ISBN: 0-7494-3690-5
Price: £16.99, paperback, 324 pp

Buy this book from the TrainingZONE - Blackwells bookshop.

This practical, step-by-step guide, written by a group of highly experienced consultants, shows you how to use consultancy skills to turn around your organisation. Through the book you can learn how to: -
- improve performance levels
- implement change effectively
- analyse problems – and solve them
- develop a strategy for improvement

The market for consultancy has grown rapidly in the last few years, often due to companies down-sizing or restructuring, leading to a lack of internal staff to undertake projects or review the company operating mechanisms or objectives.

This book hopes to offer the reader the same service as a consultant, by bringing a fresh way of thinking to the organisation. It will ask the reader to question: -
- What ought to be on my business agenda?
- What needs to be done to address these agenda items?
- Can this be done within current resource constraints, or are additional resources needed?

The book is clearly divided into three sections to stimulate the readers thinking. Section one gives an overview of the consultancy process and some general ideas about thinking about the business. Section two looks at improving performance of the main functional areas, how to engage with your market place and manage the operations. Section three looks at infrastructure and resources, which underpin performance. Section four looks at introducing and implementing change and the skills it needs to initiate and manage change and changing cultures. The final section addresses how you look after yourself and how your engagement with other people will affect your performance as a consultant.

The book is full of checklists and exercises to initiate change and action and has clear sections and diagrams to assist the reader. In some chapters the language used would be outside the every day vocabulary range of the average manager / owner. Some of the authors seem to presume that the reader is already knowledgeable about certain business models and tools such as Business Process Analysis. As a Business Development Advisor working on a daily basis with managers and owners of small and medium sized enterprises, I am aware that many of them have no understanding or knowledge of basic management practices. It would have been helpful therefore, if sometimes the authors had offered simpler explanations of some of the models.
However, as Calvert Markham states "the book is a practitioners view. It is not comprehensive – it would be unwieldy if it were – and maybe it is not perfect. In these two respects it is much like a management consultant! But – like a good management consultant – it should stimulate thought, help articulate a vision and support you in developing the performance of your enterprise."

It definitely meets these objectives and would be a useful tool to any manager or owner looking at developing their company, or to any consultants out there who want to make sure that they are up-to-date with modern business models and practices.

One that I would recommend managers / owners or consultants to add to the company library.

Alison Lowe
Business Development Advisor
Business Link Norfolk

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