The thoughts below are inspired. Have seen such happenings over the years, I was impressed and wanted to share these power packed ideas with people like you and for the benefit of those who prefer to waste time being knowledgeable and being creative. Some of these thoughts may help make life easier for those who are too naive. These may also inspire those with limited grey matter to deliver quality assignments at work.
These ideas may primarily be applicable for those who work in strategic and planning roles, they may not be relevant for people at ground level, first line managers or others. Please see and experiment to find if they are applicable to you and your role.
Case 1 : Your boss asks you to develop a plan for a new process, or some road map for some process implementation.
The above scenario is applicable to almost every managerial role across functions and across industries. It does not matter if you are a finance guy, an HR guy, a marketing guy or an IT guy. The exact problem statement may differ however the scenario would remain the same – some planning exercise.
How to deliver an interesting solution without getting too worked up ?
What did you say ? Start from Google, check out the old files, archives by ex employees, or the data back up from your last 2 jobs. Hmmm.. Possibly. You are welcome to try the above approaches. But well, all of these activities would need some of your effort. And btw, please understand – Googling for some relevant gyan on any new process etc. needs lots of time, effort and your intellect – Why would you want to even waste that much time and effort ?
What smart people will do ?
First and foremost, give a call to all consultants that you know of, who practice in the concerned area. Try to ensure that, if you call 5 consultants at least 3 of them should be a small set up and 1 of them should be kind of a start up. Give them a quick brief – and ask them to send across a detailed proposal etc. at the earliest. Tell them that they need to recommend a detailed process step for the assignment, and present their ideas in form of model as to how they will execute the assignment. Pester them every other hour to show them the urgency of the assignment till the time they send you a detailed proposal. If their proposal is not detailed enough pester them for additional information. Now, if your request for proposal is even 1 per cent convincing – 2 of these 5 people will definitely send you enough dough to fill in any presentation etc. on the concerned theme. Even if every one of these consultants smells a rat or a fake assignment, the unsuspecting start up consultant will for sure happily oblige.
Now you have a ready made process plan or a project plan – what ever the case may be – if these consultants are any way good. Make minor changes, reformat, and add some masala from other archives and you are ready with your plan.
Case 2: Your business or function wants to create a new line of business, or a new functional structure ? You have been asked to propose a plan for the same and support the initiative by offering relevant ideas and insights.
You can try the approach used for the previous case. Alternatively, you can also do some offline research or you can connect with friends in relevant industry to get more masala – ideas and insights.
What smart people will do ?
Call up your recruitment guy. Ask them to line up candidates for a mid / senior level role opening with the proposed line of business, or the new functional role. Brief the recruitment guy to get candidates from benchmark companies, select competitors. During the interview, grill the candidates and get as much information as possible. Of course, you need to put some effort at interviewing, collecting data, and analysing the gyan but all this is worth while – you get so much of information, that you can propose what ever process road map, business structure etc. you are expected to propose. You can get more information, without running around – sitting in the cool confines of your office. Again a tried and tested technique, practiced regularly by many in industry. What else – all insight, knowledge of benchmarked businesses etc. is yours for free.
Finally, the simplest solution – if you have to face above mentioned or similar situations and if you have a team member – delegate the task and ask your team member to read this write up.