What the C-Suite is Looking For in a Consulting Partner

/ Christine Andrukonis

Like Their Consumers, C-Suite Leaders Demand Speed, Experience, and Personalization

This month at Notion, we’re celebrating our 4-year anniversary. As we reflect on our journey to date, our growth story makes one thing clear – C-suite leaders are hungry for the experience that boutique consulting firms can provide.

In the same way that companies are facing consumers who want speed, experience and personalization – we are finding that our C-suite clients have changing demands as well. Fortunately, as a boutique and nimble company, this demand is helping to fuel our growth here at Notion.

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Key elements of the boutique consulting experience

In today’s world of mega-conglomerates, leaders are seeking out work with boutique management consultants. Here are a few things our clients have told us that boutique firms bring that larger firms may not:

  • Speed – Executives want consulting partners that understand their needs and can be two steps ahead of them – anticipating what’s next at every moment. Small firms are more adept at pivoting right alongside leaders as conditions change.
  • Experience – Executives want experienced consulting partners – people who have been in their shoes and know what needs to get done in practical terms. In a recent survey, clients said they valued Notion for our role as “strategic, quick-thinking partners” who “understand what is required to effectively support change.”
  • Insightful Action – gone are the days of “advising” when it comes to consulting – there are only so many models and theories modern executives can abide. Today’s leaders need their consulting partners to roll up their sleeves and help them get traction on big, ambiguous challenges. After a recent transformation project at a global luxury beauty company, our client said she felt she was “set up for success,” and she valued the way, as a small firm, we could help her articulate a vision, and then follow up quickly with actionable plans to achieve short and long-term results.
  • Diversity – Execs know that investing in supplier diversity programs broadens their value proposition, accelerates innovation, and unlocks new potential revenue streams. These typically smaller, minority or women-owned firms are achieving results. A recent Hackett Group study shows that 99 percent of all diverse suppliers meet or exceed buyers’ expectations, and indicates that hiring teams from outside the traditional big firms helps executives “…understand [the] markets, identify what’s coming next,” and “help strengthen [the] brand….”
  • Flexibility – Execs can no longer afford to waste their time on lengthy, drawn out procurement processes or complex contract negotiations. Executives want consulting partners who can get up and running without delay – and who can flex their resources with client needs as appropriate. With fewer layers of bureaucracy, the boutique consulting experience minimizes procedural red tape and delays at the beginning of the project, and allows the team to be agile as priorities (and budgets!) shift.
  • Personalization – C-suite clients want consulting partners who know and appreciate them as whole people – fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and all-around humans who want to bring all of who they are to their work, and who take time to savor the important moments that occur on the clock and off.

At Notion, an empathetic, authentic, and personal approach helps clients understand that we are in this together, which ultimately makes the work more productive, more efficient, and simply more fun. Our clients know that relationships matter to us, and we’re in it for the long haul. As one client recently said, we have a “personal touch” that sets us apart from other, larger consulting firms.

As we celebrate another year of substantial growth here at Notion, we are grateful for all of our past, current, and future clients, who value the unique combination of experience, insights, action and personalization that a boutique consulting firm can bring.

Categories: Leadership