You and your people are the real experts in your business. My philosophy as a consultant is based on this.
In certain circumstances, it is useful to bring in outside experts to advise on best practice or to design and implement complex technical systems.
But when it comes to how you conduct and market your business, and what the problems and opportunities are, I believe that you and your staff (and even your customers) are likely to be the best judges of what the key issues are and how to resolve them.
How to tap into this well of expertise?
By asking questions. Most people aren't trained to ask the right questions in life. Schools and universities usually expect us to learn a body of knowledge and we are tested on how well we remember and understand this knowledge.
Unfortunately, in life and in business, there are few 'right' and 'wrong' answers.
So what I do is to ask provocative questions to force people to look at their problems and opportunities from new perspectives. As experts in your business and your market, you can probably find out the answers better than anyone.
So long as you have a good question.
Here are some of the questions I might get you to think about in a facilitated meeting of retreat:
In the meetings that I facilitate, I work through a series of questions (as appropriate to the situation and your company) and set up brainstorming discussions to get you and your staff to resolve the issues yourselves.
I don't give you the answers. You and your staff might be expected to do some research beforehand so that we have the necessary facts and figures to hand. And I might make some suggestions to get the discussion going. (Sometimes, I will make crazy, impossible suggestions and ask you to consider them seriously - Yellow Hat thinking - as a way of opening up new ways of thinking about your company and what it can do.)
Ultimately, the real experts - you and your company - will devise appropriate and workable solutions. Something that outside consultants often can't do because they don't understand the market and the business as well as you do.
Additional Consultancy Work
There is often a certain amount of preparatory work to do before a facilitated meeting or brainstorming session - such as helping to prepare the financial data (asking for the right data) and learning more about your company by speaking to staff and suppliers and customers.
One of the goals of each meeting is to devise a simple action plan. I sometimes help to develop a more comprehensive project plan and monitor results by chairing feedback meetings, usually on a weekly basis over a period of a few months.
More about me
Althugh I've only been in Thailand for three years, I've probably made enough mistakes for ten. That means also that I've learned a great deal about the culture and the mindset (of both Thais and expats) and what is and isn't feasible in the market. And unlike many more experienced expats, I can read and speak a little Thai, and have good relations with many Thai people from all walks of life.
My strongest skill is in liaison between management, business users and technical/admin personnel. I am someone who can understand your business at all levels (big picture plus details) and find ways to communicate the business model and important issues effectively.
I have several approaches that can help to achieve this. I work at a senior level to help devise appropriate, profitable and sustainable strategies, ascertain business needs from staff as well as customers and other stakeholders; and then work with the relevant teams to help plan and implement the necessary changes and improvements.