question ten

Given that the people functions within my business (HR – OD – Training) have been only partially successful in leading change and transformation, how could an external firm succeed in creating momentum and overcoming the inertia that exists in senior and middle management?

Or 'Why do external providers work?'


  • they have a detached perspective – more than likely, a different view
  • they have none of the history of previous attempts
  • they can remain unaffected by corporate mythology, the ghosts, ghouls and remnants of the past
  • it can be argued that they have less at stake when telling the 'truth' and nothing to lose when addressing the real issue that remains unspoken, (although reputation in this world is all)
  • they can use different language, different processes not thought of before
  • they can be single minded in their approach, unhindered by other internal tasks and issues the business functions need to bear in mind
  • they can avoid the halo effect – 'oh dear, HR are talking about the soft stuff again'
  • they can learn from and apply the lessons of a wider community across many industries and cultures
  • through their credibility and reputation they can create greater levels of pull in the business and increased willingness to listen.

Although it can be frustrating when an external approach carries more weight than the internal voice, we are highly sensitive to the fact that we will eventually have to leave an organisation and we have developed some sophisticated and effective ways of transitioning and working with the internal resource to provide a seamless handover.