The nine lives of a consultant

Before leaving for home after a long day at work, I feel like sharing my day with you.
Frederik Simoen

Before leaving for home after a long day at work, I feel like sharing my day with you. So much has happened since I closed my front door behind me this morning!

CHRONOLOGICAL: CHAOS FROM UP CLOSE

The day started with an individual moment of reflection together with my personal evaluator. As happens so often, we quickly strayed from the discussion of my individual challenges and goals and ended up reflecting on a number of strategic questions about the how and why of Möbius.

After an animated discussion, it was time for Project A. Together with the other members of the project team, we determined the approach to be taken by a steering committee at the client’s next week. What did we learn from the interviews with the employees? How does the organisational approach and contact with customers differ among the various departments? How can we submit this to management in a clear manner that ensures that the necessary decisions can be made? After two hours, we had a clear vision of the message we wished to convey.

I then took a lunchtime break to enjoy a sandwich bought at a neighbouring sandwich bar. Whether or not by coincidence, my ‘godchild’ happened to be buying a sandwich at that very same time. I was pleased to be able to give her a few tips about how to deal with traffic in order to have more time for working on projects (or leisure time if that’s what she prefers). (By the way, I still had to wait until my sandwich was ready before I could pay.

After lunch, it was back to work. The narrative we developed this morning for Project A still needed to be translated into something tangible. Analyses in Excel yielded a number of diagrams that gave a very clear picture of the situation. A few of the other diagrams were of no use and landed directly in the rubbish bin. Had three hours already passed? How time flies!

I had yet another important meeting scheduled for today. In Project B at an insurance company, we noticed that a new IT solution charged the wrong premiums for a large group of customers in some cases. Obviously this is unacceptable, which is why it was given high priority in my agenda. Thanks to efficient teamwork, the cause of the problem was identified quickly and we could formulate a proposal for solving this problem. In other words, to be continued…. But we’re satisfied with the progress made.

I then took a few minutes to formulate the previous problem in detail. How many policies were involved? What is the expected impact of the changes we’re proposing? When do we expect this problem to be solved? Is there an impact on other matters being worked on within this project? A closer look at the problem taught me that, fortunately, the situation is very manageable!

Before leaving for home, I still needed to coordinate the following steps in a new action to better identify the needs of our clients and offer them a custom solution.

SUBSTANCE: BOTTOM-DOWN STRUCTURE

Wow, such a mishmash of activities. Would a chronological overview more accurately reflect how exactly I had spent my day? By removing all surplus information, boiling things down to the essence of each activity, I arrived at a different organisation of my day. Like how Möbius always supports its clients in three essential domains, my activities could be organised the same way:

ORGANISATION

  • In Project B, I made an analysis of the scale and impact of the problem in order to inform project management of any schedule changes. This lets them monitor progress on a higher level.
  • The goal of Project A is to embed the strategic decisions of the client in all operational activities carried out. Next week, the steering committee will be contributing a time when important decisions can be made.
  • I always support the organisation at Möbius by continuously identifying matters that can be done better today or will be a challenge tomorrow.

EMPLOYEES

  • Interviews with the employees in Project A gave us a very clear idea of how work is carried out at present. During a follow-up phase, we can once again involve them in order to help us formulate our recommendations, so that we not only present a theoretical, but also an effective improvement to the client.
  • By taking a moment in the afternoon to find out how my colleagues (new and otherwise) are doing, I can also help Möbius maintain a positive and amicable working environment.
  • By fulfilling my role as godfather with dignity, I also help create the most amicable work climate at Möbius and for new Möbians.

CUSTOMERS

  • In Project A, the company’s strategy is very strongly linked to customers, and not only operational employees but also management aims for as close as involvement with the customer as possible. New goals and focal areas need to make it possible to determine in the field how we can better serve customers on a daily basis.
  • In Project B, there can be no doubt that my primary concern is the organisation and employees. But the interaction with customers also matters to me. Customers do not expect to be charged incorrect premiums and the service provided can be nothing short of perfect.
  • Of course, Möbius also has customers and I also try (both within and outside of my project work) to support them as best as possible. By following developments in the market and coming up with solutions to new challenges, I can also think in terms of their frame of reference.

9 LIVES?

Attentive readers will have noticed that I’ve only mentioned 8 lives so far. At home, the colleagues in my private life (future spouse and cat) are waiting for me with a good meal and relaxing evening on the sofa.

Thanks for reading

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Bjorn Van Moerkercke