Government’s use of consultants continues to be big news. The current Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) inquiry into the use of consultants and contractors across the Commonwealth public sector is scrutinising reporting and governance. But are they asking the right questions?
Martin Bortz thinks not. A research fellow studying public sector use of consultants at the Melbourne School of Government, you can read Martin’s take on the subject here.
Martin believes the best way to ensure consulting projects elicit the best possible advice is by understanding what consultants do and how to critically engage with their work.
“ … we need to enhance the ability of public servants to not only effectively manage their consultants, but also to be able to scrutinise and critically engage with their advice.”
We couldn’t agree more. Good consultants are trained in applied research techniques, argumentation, critical reasoning and analysis. It makes sense that having the same understanding helps those who commission and engage consultants to set the conditions for success and get the best results. At Kiah we call it “asking a better question”.
This is one reason why our Insight into Industry training program is so popular. Many people make their entire career in the public sector. While they develop expertise and great skill, they may miss out on the diversity of thought that experience across sectors can bring. And they may find it hard to understand the perspectives and drivers of industry.
By immersing themselves in the role of a commercial business development manager for a day, participants develop a new understanding of corporate strategy, industry remuneration, opportunity identification, tendering, partnering, and pricing, risk and legal issues.
Our philosophy is “when I understand your perspective, my perspective changes”. Understanding the commercial perspective helps public sector employees understand when, where and how consultants can add the most value. It’s good business for everyone.
A Harvard experience
The year kicked off with our MD John Glenn travelling to Boston to attend Harvard Business School. John had a great time and brought back plenty of good ideas for Kiah going forward. You can read his diary here.
Company Director Magazine profiles Kiah MD John Glenn
The March edition of the Australian Institute of Company Directors magazine features an interview with John, where he discusses why the public sector needs commercial acumen, the Kiah philosophy, and how identifying and aligning interests creates “a bridge, not a battleground”.
Do you need to build bridges in your program? Talk to us to find out how you can align your interests with those of your stakeholders to create value and get results.
Interested in getting your own way? Who isn’t?
We’ve developed a brand new Masterclass for 2018, all about aligning interests and the multiple dimensions of strategy, design and tactics that lead to valuable and sustainable agreements.
In this two-hour session, John will provide an insight into the secret sauce that has led him and Kiah to consistently deliver outstanding outcomes and resolve some of the most challenging disputes.
While the Masterclass draws on public sector case studies, the program is useful for anyone who seeks to get their own way – from corporate deals to dealing with teenagers!
We don’t promise to make you a master in two hours, but we do promise immediate actionable insights, and a roadmap to becoming a master.