Last week, a number of senior executives from charitable organisations (RNLI, Bishopsgate Institute and Career Academies UK) joined us at one of our Open Programmes. They weren’t attending as delegates,  but as “guinea pig clients” for our delegates.

This particular programme addresses one of the key HR challenges we’re determined  to tackle; “How to be a Strategic Partner”. We introduce the attendees to a new HR Value Chain, turn on a fire-hose of supporting skills, tools and techniques, and then, just as they all think they’re going home, we scare them silly by bringing in senior executives from supportive organisations – who bring a real, current issue to the table – for some pro-bono consulting. 

It’s a classic win-win; the delegates get to practise what they’ve learned, in a pressure -test situation and the “test” clients get some excellent (hopefully!) free business consulting.

And it works. We’ve adapted this from our in-house academies and the purpose of this blog is not as an advertorial, but to illustrate the power that effective, simple business consulting can have. Over the years we’ve invited scores of international managers, directors and executives to play this guinea pig role. Many have come back several times, and many have sent their friends, colleagues or their direct reports to take advantage of the opportunity.

One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive is “Why doesn’t HR offer this as a service?!” How can such a simple sentiment be so frustrating and yet so liberating?!

Frustrating because this simple, easily acquired discipline seems to be so, so rare in HR despite over 20 years of navel-gazing about “being strategic” or “having a seat at the table” (there are those air quotes again!  – see last week’s blog). Liberating, because witnessing the delegates’ reaction to the instant client feedback about how impactful and valuable their experience has been, is one of those life-enhancing moments!

Offer it as a “special service”, but better than that make it your daily bread and butter!

Have a great week.

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