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On Effective Consulting "Interventions"

In consulting, we often use the term "intervention" when engaged by an organization to achieve certain outcomes. What it boils down to is an attempt at planned and purposeful change.

Typically, there are four elements that need to be considered when designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions:

-the intervention’s content (or “active ingredients”)

-its implementation context

-the implementation process

-the target outcomes

The process typically follows a linear sequence - from sensing and then defining problems, designing and implementing solutions and finally evaluating outcomes.

Whilst it is desirable that consultants enter the process from the beginning (which increases the probability that they will try to solve the right problem) it is often the case that they are called in to design a solution and help implement it, once the problem has been identified and defined. And they are often long gone before anyone actually bothers to evaluate outcomes!

That's hardly an effective strategy on the part of hiring organizations given that there is no sense of accountability on the part of consultants ("I'm not going to be around to witness the consequences"), especially when they had no role in defining the problems in the first place.


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