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Management Consulting – Skill Sets for Success?

It is often assumed that the core skill required for successful management consulting revolves around subject matter expertise. If pressed, most would also agree that some soft skills are needed: empathy, ability to instill trust, managing group dynamics etc. Whilst this combination is indeed a pre-requisite for success, there is another category of skills that are often overlooked. I would term these “procedural” in that they involve knowledge and experience of tried and tested “tools” to analyze and solve organizational problems. McKinsey consultants have long deployed the “MECE” framework as a way of analyzing business problems. The acronym stands for “Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive” and involves organizing information about an issue into mutually exclusive sub-categories, ensuring that that they belong to only one bucket (thus avoiding overlaps) while at the same time covering the entire universe of relevant issues (thus encompassing all possible options in a way that is collectively exhaustive). Another effective tool concerns responsibility assignment and decision-making (RACI). I have found this very useful, especially when discussing implementation issues and assignment of responsibilities. It tries to map out key roles in the decision making process, in terms of: Responsible – Who is completing the task. Accountable – Who is making decisions and taking actions relevant to the task Consulted – Who will be involved in taking decisions and defining tasks. Informed – Who will be kept in the loop on decisions and actions.

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