When Consultants & Clients Clash

3 March 2017

Creating Customer Value & Customer Relationship Management “When Consultants & Clients Clash” 1. At which stage of the relationship life-cycle would you position the business relationship between the Statler Group and the Kellogg-Champion Securities? In order to elaborate and analyze this question, someone can base his opinion and his respective reasoning upon both the two models that we have discussed during the class. More specifically, we can position and perceive this specific relationship according to both “the five-stage evolution process” and “the relationship life-cycle” approaches.

Thus, through my personal perspective, if at first we depend on “the five-stage evolution process”, which seems to be kind of more point-specific and rather static or stable, – not in a negative concept, just with specific, clear starting and ending points- we can position the relationship between Statler and Kellogg-Champion at an early stage. The two companies had already entered the “threshold of relationship-building” but they seem to be at a premature level, where they are both trying to adjust and adapt to the new circumstances.

When Consultants & Clients Clash Essay Example

Since the collaboration until now seems not to be going well, only if the two brands manage to overcome the present unpleasant situation that I will describe for the next question, the two brands will progress through the other formative stages, where their relationship will grow and become well-founded. Thereinafter, through the second approach of “the relationship life-cycle” which in my eyes seems to be more dynamic, fluid and moving, the relationship between the two firms is a typical example of relationship that has just entered the exploration stage.

It is again a matter of effective management, constructive communication and precise decision-making whether or not the two firms will manage to pass through this level with a positive outcome. Only when the two firms achieve to positively affect the commitment axis and gain higher levels of gratification, sharing and understanding, they will then succeed in entering the growth stage where they will mutually build and “foster” their relationship.

Unfortunately, at the present time, the two participants seem to experience the “cognitive dissonance” syndrome, where, as the corresponding theory suggest, both parties driven by a diffused lack of confidence and trust tend to quickly and constantly re-evaluate, re-confirm and re-doubt about the situation and its conditions. 2. What are the mistakes made by both sides? It is clear and obvious that wrong and ineffective actions from both the two sides and in several perspectives, had resulted eventually in such an uncomfortable situation.

Throughout the case, we can clearly observe several inappropriate or insufficient handling actions from both sides, whereas at the same time, the absence of the necessary “synergetic effect” among the participants it is obvious and widespread in this case. On the first hand, the top management of the Kellogg-Champion firm seems to have pretending not to see the real and actual parameters, conditions and dimensions of the situation. Especially when informing and presenting the overall picture to the Statler consultants, the Kellogg-Champion side should be both more sincere and more enlightening.

The initial information and statements by Royce Kellogg -the CEO of the new joint company- and his salient disposition to make things appear simple, were by far not precise and effective. In situations like this, the part of combining, converging and unifying different cultures and different ways-to-do-things is essentially the most complex and difficult and not a simple and easy process as Royce Kellogg suggests. At this point, we can observe that behind these misjudgments from the top management sides of the new merger, several deeper, more complex and sophisticated issues lie.

Essentially, the whole new structure seems not to be well-structured and well-founded, since the decisions and the corresponding executions are rather hasty and on-the-run; without the right evaluation and planning. In fact, the associate chairmen of the two firms had just agreed in the opportunity and the necessity of joining their forces, while at the same time they either neglect or avoid discussing, enlightening and deciding upon both the deeper, crucial differences in terms of heritage, culture or vision and the several ongoing functional or operational details.

The lack of communication and diffusion of the new elements, factors and directions is obvious both through the internal context of each firm -the employees are really unaware and uninformed- and through the overall, general dimension of collaboration and interaction between the two firms. In few simple words, the merging process is characterized by a major lack of perceived mutuality and essentially no sense of real synergy between the two sides. On the other hand, there are several points of mismanagement also from the side of the Statler group.

At first, the consultancy firm showed several signs of inefficient performance in a Key Account Management level of function, since the preparation of this case was by far not the appropriate. The firm proved to be “weak” and insufficient when evaluating and balancing the situation and this resulted in wrong adjusting/matching between their qualities in terms of human resources and their clients’ needs. Moreover, the way that the selected consultants’ team react, manage and handle the situation was from the beginning inadequate, non-relevant and non-definite.

The consultants didn’t succeed in either proacting or reacting with the appropriate and necessary manner to the situations and the stimuli they experienced. Distinctively for example, they only stayed focused in the schedule of interviews that the CEO had already planned for them, they didn’t question, doubt or express any queries before or during this interactive process. As the situation was getting complex, contrasting and unpleasant, they selected not to express and discuss these embarrassing outcomes neither with the two “bosses”, nor with the several employees which they contacted.

They only seemed to postpone the problem and its source by simply trying to calm the employees down. In contrast, the team did not under no circumstances manage to identify the core and the source of the problem –severe lack of mutuality and “synergetic sense”- and subsequently did not succeed in bringing the two firms in contact by communicating and dealing with the reasons of such an ineffective collaboration. 3. Is there a way for this relationship to work after all? What actions should be taken by the consultant?

What the client should do? From my personal point of view, although neither of the sides didn’t manage to effectively proact in order to prepare the suitable conditions and “environment” for their collaboration and their relationship, there are still chances and time for them to at least succeed in reacting. Now, due to the kind of such a B2B relationship, the very first side that should respond to such non-positive signs, should be the supplier of the service; the Statler Consultancy Group.

Thereby, regarding the side of the consultants any corrective measure could start with at last applying an efficient Key Account Management plan and function for their client. By saying this I mean that the consultancy firm should implement tactics and actions that will match their qualities with their clients’ needs. For example, bringing in a new, fresh face into the team; a well-experienced in these situations colleague who can stand as an expert about mergers, could be an action targeted to the right direction; the one of adjusting effectively resources with clients.

Mergers and especially these like the Kellogg-Champion one, where the two initial firms have been showing almost equal shares and have been operating on similar lines of business, the integration process is complex, more demanding and with several special traits. Through such an initiative by the consultants’ side, the Statler firm can succeed in both the internal and the external/overall context of this unpleasant situation; on the one hand they will assist their employees (Barlow and Rossos), while on the otherthey will also greatly mitigate Kellogg’s anger and frustration.

Furthermore here, we can also discuss the way how the existing team and especially S. Barlow can respond to the situation. As it has already mentioned and it is clear-cut through the case, the most significant “weakness-points” of the consultant are among her lack of experience, her lack of independency and her running uncertainty. Thus, Mrs. Barlow should re-evaluate the situation both the situation and past behavior and then re-form her future handling behavior in terms of “who-to-meet”, “how-to-respond” and “what-to-say”. On the other hand now, there could also be several possible ways for the clients of such a relationship to respond.

Thus, in my opinion the very first thing that Mr. Kellogg should proceed in, is to at last be truly open-minded and sincere. The background of this man – self-made businessman, charismatic leader and practical patron- makes him over-difficile and self-opinioned, so he must overcome these barriers, understand the real needs and necessities of his decision for merging and eventually communicate the right and “true” information in both the two directions; his companion in the merger, Champion Security and his assistant, the Statler Group.

To conclude with, in my eyes, the only possible way through which both sides can reach a win-win relationship is through improving communication in all the necessary dimensions. Only at that case, the collaborators would achieve to; rebuild trust and confidence, reopen the dialogue, redefine both vision and mission and reform a resulting plan diffused by mutuality.

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