Howick Associates
Internal Consulting for Results in the UK

S.C. Johnson IT Leaders: A Client Story

Like most global organizations, SC Johnson is constantly looking for ways to improve the products and services it provides to it's customers. Key to this effort is the ability of those in shared services—human resources, information technology, finance — to provide tangible value to their business partners.

For example, the leaders of those who provide IT support to their European and African businesses realize that they are in the service business and know the importance of being seen as providing value to their internal clients. As seen by the regional IT leader: "Technically, our staff is very talented and we have a wealth of knowledge about implementing technical solutions. We must, however, do a better job of understanding what the business needs, why a request is being made and work with the business partner to determine if the request is the best solution. This requires that we be consultative — to see the link between the request and the business needs, and insure that we are utilizing our limited resources on the right projects in the right way."

Leaders and technicians from BPT (business process and technologies) came together for two days in London to learn more about being an effective internal consultant. Participants came from the Ukraine, Egypt, Switzerland, Italy and England to learn how to develop more effective strategic partnerships with their internal customers. Participants explored the premise that consulting is, at its core, a relationship business: "While there is a great variety of work that can be classified as consulting, there is always a point at which the success of the work hinges on the quality of the relationship we have with our customers. The relationship is the wiring through which our expertise passes."

Fundamental principles of being an internal consultant within BPT were presented and practiced, including:

  • the creation of partnership agreements (a "contract" between the internal consultant and the internal client),
  • assessing and modifying the balance of responsibility,
  • behaviors that build trust with the client,
  • the use of high gain questions to get at the heart of the request,
  • conducting a gap analysis for behaviors and processes (current and desired),
  • assessing the causes for the gaps—getting at root cause,
  • clarifying roles and methods for data collection and analysis,
  • planning change management strategies with emphasis on high engagement,
  • defining on-going implementation strategies for sustaining the changes.

For two months following the classroom experience, participants engaged in several on-line discussions.

Facilitated by Drew Howick, these highly successful sessions were designed to do three things:

    (1) To keep the principles and practices top-of-mind,
    (2) to provide a forum for participants to share their recent experiences—progress as well as stumbling blocks, and
    (3) to provide new information, articles and tools to help the participants become even more effective consultants.

Care to learn more? Give us a call at 608-284-8416 to request more infomation or to discuss the best solution for your situation.


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Phone: 608-284-8416