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Administration vs Internal Consultancy?


I'm having problems convincing staff at my medium sized FE college that my T&D department (me plus administrators) is anything more than a pure admin function.

Prior to my appointment, the T&D department WAS an administrative function. However with my appointment to the new T&D management role the College senior management team were looking for it to take on an internal consultancy role.

Whilst I have senior management support and therefore can get help when running into difficulties, the middle managers and other staff are making my life very difficult.

They believe (probably due to a lack of publicity about the rebranding) that I am an administrator, not a manager (despite the job title and SMT support) and consequently cause me no end of problems on a personal and professional level.

Can anyone give me some advice on how I can overcome these obstacles and convince people that I am not an administrator but a manager / internal consultant?

Gary Cookson

4 Responses

  1. Start with the end in mind
    OK we’ve got the picture of where you are now and where you’ve been – but where are you going? By the way, they’re right you are an administrative function – you say it yourself in the first sentence …”me plus administrators” and your senior management probably don’t know what they want or are inadequate at providing what’s required “management team were looking for it to take on an internal consultancy role” is in the realms of vague hopes unless they do what’s needed to support it.

    What would being an internal consultancy actually look like when it was in place and why would people want to buy its services? What would be essential to its success in its marketplace? What services, facilities and expertise would you be offering that your market needs? Who would be/not be in the department so that you could deliver against your promises?
    What would be the motivation for your customers to buy?

    Stephen Covey talks about starting with the end in mind. So what’s your end? Forget the half hearted (and unpublicised or supported) desire for something different by your senior management. What do you want to create?

    I am not advocating crafting pretty and pointless poetic visions but about being absolutely clear about your desired end results and then about your current reality before deciding how you get there.

    Think about 30 December 2002 and what you would like to be writing about then..your achievements in the year, what you learned, what yopu realised, what mistakes you made and how you overcame them.

    Happy New Year Gary – what will you do in 2002?

    Clive Hook
    Clearworth – a class apart

  2. Internal consultancy
    The problem does seem to be one of advertising the service and also one of changing perceptions. To do this you need to know what the perception is now so you can work with it.

    Design some 360%feedback forms to get to the heart of the problem. Ensure you know what grade of staff they are being returned by, but allow complete anonymity for honesty. They also need to be compulsory for you to get the full picture.

    Once you have the answers to the questions then you can analyse them to see where the resistances lie and get one or more steps closer to the end result.

    Remember that change in your field is not just confined to your role as the colleges have been under change for several years and this has caused problems in staff’s ability to cope. Don’t let it become personal either, your role will become easier once you know the ‘pockets of resistance’.

    If you need help in designing the form or want to chat it through contact us on 0870 241 3998 or email to [email protected] for a copy of a similar questionnaire we designed for management feedback.

    A good 2002 to you!

    Sue McGaughran
    Training By Design Global Ltd

  3. feet not lips
    Hi Gary,
    I guess for me the key would be in behaving differently with them. It’s not what you say but what you do that will convince them.
    So I would agree with teh comments about being clear exactly what it weill look like when your are doing teh consultancy role brilliantly.
    Also, you seem to have senior management support. How about getting some development in consultancy skills? There’s lots around on the market.
    I’ve just written an article on a process we use that is at the heart of our consultancy approach. If you’d like a copy send me an email to [email protected]

  4. Internal Consultant or …?

    If you can isolate some of the issues that are of concern to them, either by chatting, or questionnaire and then resolve one or two of them, they will see your department’s value.

    You can say all you want, but until they see more than just administration, they won’t change their perceptions.

    To get early ‘marks’ with them choose a problem common to all or most of them and one that you know you can resolve. That will get the runs on the board and then you need to publicise what you do and what benefit it has for them.

    Desert Wave Publishing


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