Research is a core skill which needs to be mastered by all consultants. Why? Great research skills rapidly answer difficult client questions, enable us to be highly productive and to seriously impress our clients. The objective of this module is to help you develop:
- An effective consulting research ‘mindset’
- Internal research skills – within the client organization
- External research skills – outside the client organization
- How to design surveys
- How to conduct interviews
- Analyzing the results
Please attend the webinar and complete the following activities…
5.1 The Consulting Research ‘Mindset’
Consulting has a unique results-oriented approach to research or ‘mindset’. Our challenge as consultants is almost always to find robust answers to client problems as quickly as possible. This is due to tight deadlines and budget constraints. This makes it very different from academic research where the emphasis is always on rigour, usually at the expense of time and cost.
5.2 Internal Research – Within The Client Organization
Chances are that your client is a treasure trove of information and knowledge relevant to your consulting study. Our priority as consultants should be to obtain this as rapidly and efficiently as possible. We are then in a great position to identify gaps and develop our programme of further research. Remember, if you don’t ask for client information you won’t get it!
5.3 External Research – Outside The Client Organization
External research plays an important role in many consulting engagements. Few clients have a comprehensive ‘big picture’ view of the environment they are operating in and as consultants we often help them identify and fill major gaps in their knowledge.
5.4 How To Design Surveys
As a consultant, you use surveys on a daily basis – after all, every time you ask a question, you are undertaking a miniature survey. Surveys are thus a key activity and need to be planned effectively, especially when they are applied to a wide range of respondents. In this module, we will identify the key issues for planning a formal survey.
5.5 How To Conduct Surveys
Now comes the hard bit – converting the survey questions into sufficient useful data in order to provide us with the results we need. Do this part wrong, and you will be struggling to get enough results to be statistically useful. On the other hand – get it right and you will save a considerable amount of effort – and money. In this lesson we will consider testing the survey before going ahead; how to set up interviews and record results; and tips for undertaking online questionnaires, telephone surveys, and face-to-face interviews.
5.6 Analyzing The Results
A successful survey will create a lot of data, which must be converted into information that the client can use. You need to have a solid understanding of basic statistics and be able, at the very least, to use Excel spreadsheets effectively.