The team-based Consultancy Challenge in Year 2 takes you into new territory. In this one-week consultancy intervention you work for a client organisation, deliberately chosen to be very different from your own, you are tasked to find solutions to a live issue. You will be part of a small team that has been carefully selected to bring together a complementary set of skills.
Throwing you into an unfamiliar environment stretches your capacity to think strategically, and requires you to apply the new skills, thinking processes and knowledge you have gained by this point in the programme. It plays a vital role in embedding your learning in practical action, and enables you to develop new ways of working that will benefit you and your organisation in the future.
Consultancy skills training
The module begins with an intensive input on consulting skills in preparation for your first meeting with your client. It includes practical exercises and role plays to hone skills such as reflective listening, questioning techniques, contract management and other key processes in client engagement and relationship building.
After meeting the client, your team's task is to analyse and diagnose the nature of the problem or issue, and work towards possible solutions or actions to overcome the perceived difficulties, taking into account the needs and demands of various stakeholders. Your recommendations are presented to the client, and you also present to faculty at Lancaster on the work carried out and the experience and learning derived from it. Both presentations are group presentations. Your findings are then incorporated into a group report which is submitted for academic assessment.
Particular attention will be given to three areas: the methods employed to reach a full understanding of the problem situation, the models, tools and comparisons used to come up with suggested possible solutions, and the action taken or recommended to deal with the situation. Client feedback forms part of the overall assessment.