• Mark Newman

Transformation consulting in a virtual world

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

The days of consultants flying into client locations using airports and hotels to then run workshops, conduct interviews, and work alongside client staff are now in the distant past. A new business context has been enforced onto us which among other things, has resulted in both our consultants and clients working from home for extended periods.

Even with the amazing success of vaccine development over the past 12 months, a return to office working for those who can work from home is unlikely to be high on the government's priority list when reducing restrictions. Resuming physical mobility and face to face meetings will return slowly, and will be the first to be restricted when new Covid variants threaten.

As we continue to deliver consulting services, we need to embed alternative virtual engagement and delivery models. Here are a couple of things to consider;

Client Relationships

Many of our clients will be unused to working from home in relative isolation for extended periods of time. They also may be facing personal difficulties or health issues, either for themselves or with close family members. As we engage with them, we will need to first listen, understand their circumstances. Additional time should be made to hear and acknowledge how personal lives are being affected. We are dealing with a significant societal trauma that is reaching into every aspect of our individual lives, and which has created huge uncertainty for the future.

We would do well to listen more, empathise, and show some kindness.

Client Delivery

With our clients and consultants both working from home we will need to adopt enhanced collaboration and delivery approaches. Fortunately and as has been tested in the last 12 months, technological advances in broadband infrastructure and collaboration tools such as MS Teams and Zoom have much improved virtual conversations and document sharing.

However, we can usefully go beyond these basic collaboration capabilities with more sophisticated tools which help to organise not just conversations and documents, but thinking and concepts. Having a shared transformation design space will enable our clients to have meaningful conversations and support them in the development new operating models.

Using ASSIST® to collaborate on Transformation Delivery

One thing we can be sure of is that our world is not going to return to its previous state any time soon. This crisis has created fundamental shifts (both micro and macro) on how we do business and how we relate to others. We need to be thinking and adapting to this and not just hope that we can survive 'until things return to normal' - because that may still be a few years out.


ASSIST® is an online shared conceptual space for business transformation which integrates strategic analysis, operating model design, and portfolio optimisation. You can read more about ASSIST® here

If you would like to discuss how ASSIST® can be used to enhance your own consulting delivery practice, then please get in touch