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Process Consulting: Where should process consulting stop?

While doing process consulting, key question arises where should we stop, do we need to stop our work at documentation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) or should we travel the distance till the implementation of these SOPs with customer? Is there any right approach to decide on this?

I also ask myself that, whether my customer is realizing the value in getting a world class SOP documented for their organization or do they need support in realizing the value of SOP through appropriate & timely implementation of SOP.

I have seen so many Consulting firms talking about approach & methodology of doing process consulting, but have never seen any consulting firm trying to highlight the real risk of business in terms of ensuring implementation of solutions provided by process design or SOP.

A mid-sized firm who plans to go for SOP development because of broader vision of senior management, always faces a challenge, that they get most comprehensive documents defining, process, Roles & Responsibilities, Review Mechanism and MIS by some of the firms and yet not realising the benefits of them because these SOPs never get implemented in their businesses. As a consulting firm no one wants to get into real risk of failure of implementation of SOP or I should say most of these firms are like great swimmers but not great divers, hence they don’t take responsibility of implementation.

I always remember example given to me by a friend around SOP development and implementation of the same. He used to refer that we are Hindu and there is SOP called SHRIMAD BHAGVAD GEETA (Geeta) written for Hindus to follow, but actually how many people read it or really understand the principles of Geeta. Hence even if Geeta is most comprehensive spiritual book for guiding principles of Hindus, it still has no meaning until one understands the same and follows basic principles of it. The understanding of Geeta can only be preached by a person who knows the depth of it and has experienced the transformation.

With this one example I firmly believe that even if SOP for an organisation have been defined in most comprehensive manner, yet it requires an implementation effort and support by an expert. In short I am making sure that my clients just don’t get satisfied with process documentation, they should ask for more… in terms of implementation support.

While following this approach of development of SOP for my clients, I have realised importance of change management for implementation of SOP and the real fun of consulting in terms of transforming a business just by development of SOP and its REAL IMPLEMENTATION in day to day business.

Author: Gaurav Shukla