Business consulting refers generally to the provision of consulting services, but there are numerous specializations, such as information technology consulting, human resource consulting, and others; many of which overlap, and most of which are offered by the large diversified consultancies. However, so-called 'boutique' consultancies, are smaller organizations specializing in one or a few of such specializations.
In this regard, specialized business interventions are becoming more prevalent in non-business related fields as well. As the need for professional and specialized advice grows, other industries such as government, quasi-government and not-for-profit agencies are turning to the same leadership and managerial principles that have helped the private sector for years.
One important and recent change in the industry has been the spin-off or separation of the consulting and the accounting units of the large diversified firms. For these firms, which began business as accounting firms, management consulting was a new extension to their business. But precipitated by a number of highly publicized scandals over accounting practices, such as the Enron scandal, accountancies began divestiture of their management consulting units, to more easily comply with tighter regulatory scrutiny that arose in the wake of the scandals (Self Growth, 2013).
Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization's direction in response to a changing environment. It is a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Effective strategic planning articulates not only where an organization is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how it will know if it is successful.
A strategic plan is a document used to communicate with the organization the organization's goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals, and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.
Strategic management is the comprehensive collection of ongoing activities and processes that organizations use to systematically coordinate and align resources and actions with mission, vision, and strategy throughout an organization. Strategic management activities transform the static plan into a system that provides strategic performance feedback to decision making and enables the plan to evolve and grow as requirements and other circumstances change.
There are many different frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning and management. While there is no absolute rules regarding the right framework, most follow a similar pattern and have common attributes. Many frameworks cycle through some variation on some very basic phases:
Where an understanding of the current internal and external environments is developed
Where high-level strategy is developed and a basic organization level strategic plan is documented
Where the high-level plan is translated into more operational planning and action items
where ongoing refinement and evaluation of performance, culture, communications, data reporting, and other strategic management issues occurs (Balanced Scoreboard Institute, 2012
The Association for Strategic Planning (ASP), a U.S.-based, non-profit professional association dedicated to advancing thought and practice in strategy development and deployment, has developed a Lead-Think-Plan-Actrubric and accompanying Body of Knowledge to capture and disseminate best practice in the field of strategic planning and management. ASP has also developed criteria for assessing strategic planning and management frameworks against the Body of Knowledge.
These criteria are used for three primary purposes:
There are numerous strategic planning and management frameworks that meet these criteria, such as the Institute's Nine Steps to Success. For more information about the criteria, please visit the ASP website. (Association for Strategic Planning, 2012).
Philosophically, L.E.A.P.S. has adopted and embraced the ASP model in its consultancy practice. We believe that professional consulting practices must be guided to proven and research-driven best practices. In this regard, L.E.A.P.S. promised to deliver ASP standard best practices in its partnerships with our clients