The Values Led Consulting Program
Values Led Consulting is a membership and coaching program for owners and senior leaders of technical consulting and agency organisations. With a combination of training, strategies, tools and templates, we help you build a solid foundation and processes to grow profitably, scale your ops as you grow, and put your values front and centre.
It is based on the experience of founder Iyas AlQasem in growing a full services technical and creative agency to several hundred consultants with a turnover of £40m.
Next Program Start Date is to be confirmed. Contact us if you want to know more.
This 9 month program is based on our Values Led Consulting Framework, and is designed to help leaders and owners of consultancies and agencies create a systematic approach to:
- Grow profitably;
- Lead with their values;
- Create a scalable and sustainable foundation to support their growth.
It is designed for technical and digital consultancies and agencies with between approximately 8 and 25 client-facing staff, or turnover of between £750,000 and £3 million. Based on 9 modules, it will enable you to put the strategies, systems and tools in place to do the following.
Lead with your VALUES, and find practical ways to use them to create a positive CULTURE
Gain clarity on your own roles on the BOARD and create a systematic way to achieve your company’s goals
Attract and motivate your team to perform at its best for your clients with a compelling VISION
Implement a consulting lifecycle to attract, grow, retain and fulfil the best CONSULTANTS
Create an OPERATIONS function that elegantly connects sales, delivery and consultant growth
Implement a model for continually improving your DELIVERY, quality and margin
Find ways to add value to your CLIENTS and help them, your team and your company grow
Find the right model to fuel BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT based on your values
Define a NUMBERS framework to measure and drive your priorities
Investment and Structure
CORE PROGRAM + COACHING
CORE PROGRAM + INTENSIVE COACHING
Note: Numbers for this program are limited due to the one-to-one time commitment needed. If you’re interested in this level, contact us (below) for a discussion.
/ month for 9 months
/ month for 9 months
/ month for 12 months
Contact to discuss
Personalised Coaching Programme
Values Led Consulting Modules
Module 1 – The Board and Leadership
There are many roads to setting up a consultancy. Most common is where you were previously consultants, met or worked together on a project, and with a meeting of minds, decided to go it alone. Less commonly, you may have spotted an opportunity, and set up to realise it.
However you got here, there will have been or will be a point at which to grow effectively you need to split responsibilities and formalise decision-making. There’s no single answer, but there are common considerations you need to address. In this module, we include:
- The Role of The Board;
- Leadership – The real Role of the board;
- Remaining Client Facing;
- Key CEO, CFO, COO and CTO Responsibilities;
- The CKO (Chief Don’t Know) Board Member without easily defined role!
- Non-Execs and Coaches.
Note that this doesn’t replace Institute of Directors or similar training. It is a practical way to create an effectively functioning board. If you want the certifications, look at the IoD or similar.
Module 2 – Vision and Values
Over and again, studies show that company culture can make or break financial performance. That culture comes from the values you lead with.
Why should the most talented consultants in your space come work for you? Why should a client seeking the highest quality delivery seek your services? While your culture is defined by your values, your direction comes from your vision.
Making what you stand for clear helps you to attract and retain people aligned with where you’re going. It underpins how you do things, and makes decision-making easier and more transparent.
The best consultants want the thing they spend most of their waking hours on to mean more than a balance sheet. This module looks at how to practically create and lead with your values, and how they in turn feed into growth and profitability. Topics include:
- The role of Vision and of Values;
- Leadership, and how to practically use values to create a positive culture;
- Reflecting your values in how you run the business.
Module 3 – Strategy and Goals
If your vision is big enough to attract the best, then it has to be challenging. The reality is that not every company that succeeds has a vision. And most probably start without one. But a compelling and attractive vision well implemented is a great accelerator, and adds meaning.
While in the last module, we looked at articulating your values, and turning them into reality, here, we’ll take your vision and put a process in place to maximise your probability of achieving it. In this module, we look at how you take your vision, and turn it into a strategy, goals and actions, and then get your board systematically working to achieve it. We cover:
- Vision to Strategy to Plan;
- Iterating to success;
- How to use your board meetings as the pulse of strategy, rather than as glorified ops meetings.
Modules 4 & 5 – Consultants
Every business likes to call itself a people business. Most aren’t. Successful consultancies have to be.
Great consultants help you win the right work as well as deliver it. They help you attract other great consultants. So your process for finding, recruiting, retaining, challenging and growing the right consultants has to be the most solid part of your business.
This is a substantial piece of work, which is why it covers 2 modules:
- Module 4:
- Why is this important?
- Attracting and Finding Great Consultants;
- Recruiting and On-boarding.
- Module 5:
- Retaining great consultants;
- The star generation engine – how to build a foundation to allow stars to flourish;
- Parting Company.
In our own business, we did this so well that we became the destination employer, fired all our hiring firms, saved well into the 7 figures on recruitment costs alone while recruiting the best in the industry. A result of executing on vision and values to create a star engine.
Module 6 – Business Development, Growing Existing Clients
If you’re in consulting with a creed that doesn’t revolve around adding multiples more value to your clients than what they pay you, then you’re in the wrong business. That doesn’t mean your clients should be taking you for a ride, but it does mean your consultants and everything you do should reflect mutual benefit.
That’s a fine line to tread, and client management needs to be a core competency that you and your consultants develop. Because that’s also how you turn projects into longer term relationships with increased value for your clients and revenue for you. Subjects within this section include:
- The Creed of Adding Value Disproportionately;
- The 3 key levers to sustained and growing client business;
- Client management and farming;
- How is a consultant different from …
Module 7 – Delivery
Quality project delivery is important for at least 3 reasons:
- It enhances your reputation, which helps follow-on and new business;
- Getting things right more often first time allows you to deliver higher quality more profitably, which is a genuine win win for you and your client;
- It helps attract and retain the best consultants, and helps get you into a virtual cycle where you get the best, they help you further improve your delivery, which helps to attract the best again.
This module isn’t about delivery methodologies, Agile, Waterfall, Lean, Scrum Prince II or whatever. Rather it’s about how you make quality and its continuous improvement a part of your ethos, and gives you a practical method to make it happen. Topic areas include:
- The importance of quality;
- Quality consultants or quality processes?
- Standards and resistance to them;
- A Practical Process to Learn From Every Project.
Module 8 – Business Development, New Clients
Sales is your oxygen. No sales, no consultancy. How do you attract the right prospects, and then convert them into customers? As a professional services business, your business flow needs to look more like an airline than a product business. If a plane leaves with empty seats, you can’t fill them later. Similarly, if you pass a month without enough work for your consultants, while your biggest expenditure, namely salary bill, stays the same, you can’t get that time back and recoup the missed revenue.
AND you need to win the right business in an ethical way. Topics in this section include:
- What is your differentiator? The USP, and whether you need one;
- The funnel – Routes to market; Qualification; Proposals, rates, pitches and closing;
- Consultants, consultative selling, and salespeople;
- Pushing the Boundary -vs- Promising the Undeliverable.
Module 9 – Operations
If Business Development is the oxygen for your business, then operations are its central nervous system. Smooth operations, in which we include consultant scheduling, career development, policies and infrastructure, should allow your consultants to work without undue friction and positively help in their growth.
If your scheduling is not intimately tied to your career development plans, or if your Working Away from Home policies undermine motivation, or if your timesheet and expense systems are complex and unclear, all of these undermine consultant productivity and sap away at morale. Subjects within this module include:
- The Central Nervous System;
- The Centrality of Consultant Scheduling;
- The impossible balancing act: Projects, Utilisation, Business Development and R&D;
- The home of proactive HR.
Core Module 1 – Numbers
In a business where your biggest cost and most of your revenue both depend on time, cash flow is even more critical than in most businesses. You pay your consultants whether or not they are on a project (we’re not fans of zero-hours contracts), but you only get paid (mostly) if they’re doing client work. You will want to build a cushion (time ’til lights out), and balance how much you eat into it for growth when hiring may run ahead of billing.
But that’s just one of a set of key indicators to monitor and optimise on at least a monthly basis. Topics covered within this module include:
- Consultancy Accounts;
- Cash Flow;
- The Dreaded Utilisation Metric;
- Values-based Metrics;
Core Module 2 – Iterating to Success
Central to everything in the Values Led Consulting framework is the philosophy of inspecting, learning and adapting to keep the organisation moving forward. This is as true of an individual consultant’s career development as it is of your financial board reporting.
Rather than be overwhelmed by creating a scalable foundation, our approach is to start where you are or with discrete projects, and then iterate these as you grow.
This core module reviews practical ways to do this at all levels within the framework.
Why use Beyond the Quarter? Who are you?
I’m Iyas, the founder of Beyond the Quarter, and the person delivering most of the services outlined above. I co-founded a consultancy which I grew from 2 to 30+ consultants before it was merged into a larger consulting company. I joined its board of directors, and took on a dispirited and rapidly diminishing team of 60 consultants. Leading with a core set of values, I turned its shrinkage around and grew it to over 200 before we sold the company for over £40m to a large corporate. I stayed there for a period in which I led a team of 500 consultants across Europe, Middle East and Africa, and left to return to working with the dynamic world of entrepreneurs.
So I bring experience of having been there from 2 consultants to 500.
Phase 1 – Startup to 30 consultants
- Co-founded a Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse consultancy;
- Grew it to 30+ consultants;
- Primarily blue-chip client base such as Lloyds, Mothercare, Debenhams and Yell.
- Merged into a larger Business and Technology consultancy, in which I took a shareholding stake.
Phase 2 – Communities of Practice
- Took on a board role in merged consultancy to develop our Intellectual Capital;
- Created communities of practice and community days, which were responsible for significant increases in knowledge sharing and capability development.
Phase 3 – Growing to 200 Consultants
- As part owner and board director, took over a team of 60 consultants, our largest, in a turnaround scenario;
- Leading with a set of principles focussed on developing our team to become world class, I put in place a structure and practices that reduced consultant churn (i.e. the % leaving us every year) from a disastrous 40% to an industry leading 6%;
- Grew the practice to over 200 consultants, started a practice in India, recruited a support team, recruited a recruiter to overhaul recruitment (too many ‘recruits’ in that sentence?);
- Made us a destination employer so we no longer needed any external recruitment while we grew from 60 to over 200 consultants, and saving well over £1 million in recruitment fees;
- Created an environment where we achieved recognition (ranked 4th Full Services Agency in Europe by Forrester), challenged and grew the best consultants, and (nearly) all enjoyed the ride;
- Created a children’s charity alongside, and aligned our consultancy’s fundraising efforts to it with fun events put on by our operations team.
Phase 4 – Acquired for £42M
- Board member and part owner when we were acquired for £42 Million ($84 Million at the time) to kick-start a consulting practice across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
- Took on the entire EMEA consulting team of nearly 500 ranging from UK to South Africa, Spain to the Middle East;
- Grew and started practices in new territories;
- Left to go back to independent companies where I believed the values were more aligned with my own beliefs.
Phase 5 – Helping Other Consultancies
- Founded Beyond the Quarter to work with independent companies looking to grow in a way that is aligned with the founders’ values. Using growth and values to reinforce each other, rather than in opposition.
- Started working with consultancies, the businesses that are closest to my heart and experience.
I am convinced that a more human and sustainable world will be built on the profitable growth and success of independent entrepreneurial businesses. Businesses that value their founders, their customers, and their staff more highly than the quarterly or daily whims of stockmarket traders.
And that is the mission of Beyond the Quarter. To help independent businesses flourish. Starting with consultancies, the businesses that I know and love best.