The Leverage Model: Solution to the Consultancy Approach

 

Evolving how we help clients with good work done well.  

Return Consulting was founded in 2006 with a mission to bring the right expertise to a client’s challenge at the right time. Instead of a bench of generalists, we built a powerful collaborative network of seasoned experts, allowing us to bring the most thoughtful approaches to client challenges.

Return’s experts have invested years to sharpen their skills and refine their CAPABILITIES.

We’ve since designed the Leverage Model to also help our most effective clients extend their CAPACITY.

This expert-only network model has been very effective for over ten years, as we worked closely with clients to unpack complex issues and tackle tough changes.

 
 

Pivoting our Services

Alongside our client leaders, we’ve proudly delivered some amazing results.

Each success for our individual clients has opened them to new levels of complexity and breadth of accountability.

As the scope and landscape of business problems expands, the impact of an expert contributor exhausts the capacity and attention of even the most disciplined professionals.

In 2015, a senior Return consultant observed:

Being expert [in solutioning details] isn’t enough. I’ve developed a solid plan, and put the right work in motion in key areas.

This team knows what needs to happen. My issue is that I’m simply out of bandwidth to make the difference the client needs.

I can focus on excelling at facilitating and stakeholder buy-in, or I can maintain the rigor of project management [that is central to the Return proposition]. But, I can’t do both effectively at scale. I need very focused, rigorous project fundamental support.

We launched Return Leverage to augment our existing consulting practice and to help effective leaders extend their reach.

The Leverage Model versus traditional Consulting

Central to our Model is how we help clients set projects in motion.

Traditionally, client companies look for the most expert resource in their functional or industry space, and engage that expert over the life of a project. Consultancies have long made limited use of junior resources in the background, but clients often equate the visible, high-cost experts with high-quality delivery.

After the initial planning phases the Sr. Expert's time tapers while the Leverage Specialist's availability increases to execute on the agreed-upon work.

After the initial planning phases the Sr. Expert's time tapers while the Leverage Specialist's availability increases to execute on the agreed-upon work.

The Leverage Model flips the equation for clients: Return experts engage where their contribution matters most, and partner with a Leverage Specialist who leads the daily execution of the work.

For example, an organization needs to replace software to improve workflow they themselves are familiar with. They need help with thoughtful selection and implementation to get the results they desire, but have a strong understanding of the details.

The client really only needs 20-30% of an expert to agree a direction and a game plan, but then 70-80% can be done by a Project Specialist to maintain schedule and monitor risks and progress.

In our example, the typical organization spends 40-50% more for the dedicated expert to deliver the entirety of the work.

The Leverage Model balances expert insight with investment considerations. Experts remain involved, but are most engaged at the major milestones and critical decisions.

 
 
The To-With-By Engagement begins with an assessment by a Sr. Consultant with the business leader. The Leverage Specialist then drives good fundamentals, such as purposeful meeting management and work accountability over the course of the engagement. It concludes with a lessons learned and recommendations wrap-up. If it's a good fit, this may lead to a proposal for more specific, continued project work.

The To-With-By Engagement begins with an assessment by a Sr. Consultant with the business leader. The Leverage Specialist then drives good fundamentals, such as purposeful meeting management and work accountability over the course of the engagement. It concludes with a lessons learned and recommendations wrap-up. If it's a good fit, this may lead to a proposal for more specific, continued project work.

Sprint: TO-WITH-BY Engagements: Modeling for Behavioral Change

Some clients see the value of our Leverage Model, but don’t have active projects that require help. Sometimes, they are just frustrated as their daily rigor erodes under overwhelming work volume.

Our six-week Sprint Engagement is an opportunity for clients to get to know us at a high-value point. We assess through the lens of a single leader’s agenda, and work with them and their team to shift the culture of work. This isn’t about delivering a body of work, but modeling efficiency and effectiveness to elevate your internal team.

Our TO-WITH-BY Engagement begins by modeling good behavior, shifting to client support, and to coaching your team to run more effective meetings and work management.

In this six-week engagement, a client gains familiarity with how we work, letting us both discover if this is a one-time experience or a foundation for future partnership.