Management Consulting Service – ‘Wh’ Questions & Answers

The commitment to breaking free from oversimplification, embracing change, and fostering a collaborative partnership between consultants and organizations is the key to unlocking the full potential of management consulting in Nepal.

– Sohan Babu Khatri –

I am open to the possibility that I will be proven wrong in asserting that the industry (sorry for the intended contradiction in the use of the word ‘industry’– probably for sounding oxymoronic to some) of management consulting is in its nascent stage in Nepal. My standing does not owe its reason to the volume/value of business a management consultant/ consulting firm gets in Nepal from the corporate world as much as it does to the understood purpose, intent and impact of consulting assignments in organizational effectiveness and efficiency in our business world. In my consulting experience spanning 15 years, 90 percent of the time corporate leaders have called upon me to either solve the problem they are in while it’s already a bit too late, or to take advice in relation to some decision situation, which has been followed by past failures in decision implementation attempts. Whatever the reason be, one thing was always common – the ultimate intent of hiring a consultant (logically and rightfully so) – to increase revenue, lower costs, or both.

‘The value created by the engagements of management consultant every time exceeded the fees clients paid’ – I don’t think this statement can be objectively qualified in Nepal, unless somebody hires some other consultant (no pun intended) to measure the impact of the service on client’s business, based on the objective and scientific method (most often, participants in the corporate world designate such words and methods as ‘theoretical’ though). Promising to break certain myths prevalent in the Nepali corporate world related to various aspects of management consulting in my next article, I am focusing on specific answers to the basic ‘Wh’ questions related to the service of management consulting in this article. (Answers to each question are additive, progressive and inclusive to the answers to the following questions)

What is a management consultation/ consultancy service?

  • A service that helps the management of client organizations identify, prioritize, define, analyze, advise on and solve issues/ challenges/ problems being faced/to be faced by the organization in order to maximize future opportunities and thus, the value of return on investment(s) made by the organization in various resources (tangible, intangible and skills/ capabilities).
  • It is majorly, but not limited to the solution-oriented exploratory, deductive, advisory and/or implementation services provided to (and serving the will of) the senior management of organizations with the aim of improving the effectiveness of their business strategy, organizational performance and operational processes.
  • Fundamental objectives and areas of work of a consultant can be broadly delineated as: Providing information, solving problems, diagnosing effectively, recommending actions, implementing changes, building consensus and commitment, facilitating client learning and organizational effectiveness.

When should organizations use the service? (Purpose is obvious in the answer to the previous question)

  • When the organization is in a dilemmatic/ complex decision-making situation – more so when it’s operating in a complex/ uncertain business environment.
  • When the organization needs to fulfill the knowledge/ skills/ capabilities/ expertise/ experience gaps
  • If the organization thinks that the cost (financial and non-financial) of in-house employment of some personnel (or team) that can fulfill such gaps would be higher than the cost of the consulting service.
  • If the management thinks they need to and should focus on mission-critical activities and prioritized areas (however, consulting service may also be related to such activities and areas more often) while the other issues are being dealt with through management consulting service.
  • When management requires an independent, third-party opinion, either to confirm a decision or to provide alternatives.

Why should organizations use the service?

  • In order to solve the problems/ issues or take help in finding implementable solutions to the problems/ issues that cannot be solved internally.
  • In order to bring in fresh, new and innovative ideas/solutions and perspectives related to organizational and management systems, processes, and technologies.
  • In order to initiate/ implement change within the organization, which the organization knows it needs but does not know the answers to ‘Wh’ questions related to such changes.
  • In order to develop the in-house capability to deal with future challenges of the business.
  • To enhance business intelligence through the use of the right data, information, expertise, and analytical capabilities, which the organization lacks.

How should organizations prepare themselves to make the best out of the service?

  • Ensuring that the top management and concerned department are in consensus regarding the necessity and exact purpose/ goal of the service. (very often the original purpose thought by the management and associated cause-effect relationships between variables change during the consulting process – the client organization should be ready for the same – top management’s initial conversation with a consultant should give a sense if the problem has been properly defined)
  • Preparing itself to present the expectations, facts (as much as it knows) and hypotheses (an assumption, an idea that is proposed for the sake of argument) held by the organization in relation to the subject of consulting service. (once again, be ready and open to the thought that things might change for the betterment of the organization during the course of consultation)
  • Developing clarity on and having some calculated definition of the value to be derived from the consultant’s engagement in the form of expected return (financial and non-financial)
  • Avoiding the mistake of oversimplifying the issues at hand or underestimating what it takes to create results and treating consultants as transactional vendors (or else, get ready to pay the cost of a missed opportunity, face the risk of not addressing the core issues the organization is seeking to resolve)
  • Getting ready to embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and the practice of employee development (any truly professional consultation service is tantamount to these values)

Which areas of organizational/ management issues should organizations take the service of management consultancy for?

  • Though there is no specific rule or restriction to it, generally, an organization should not miss taking consultation service related to the areas: (given there are positive tick marks on one or few of the answers related to the aforementioned questions related to ‘When’ and ‘Why’)
  • Where strategic clarity and focus are missing
  • Where the requirement of business process re-engineering is required
  • Where operational throughput is lesser than expected (given the investment of resources)
  • Where there are perceived process bottlenecks
  • Where there is a large reversal of roles between revenue centers and cost centers
  • Where the translation of strategies (corporate, business, or functional) to operations is not being smooth
  • Where there is incongruence between three domains – technical, conceptual and human.
  • Where things are ‘just happening’ and management cannot explain ‘how?’ and ‘why?’

Widely used specialized areas/ functional categorizations of management consulting services are:

  • Strategic and business planning
  • Organizational planning and development
  • Business process re-engineering
  • Sales and distribution
  • Financial planning and control
  • Marketing and branding
  • Various aspects of Human Resources Management/development and labor relations
  • Production and operations management
  • Information Technology
  • Administration and business operations
  • Knowledge Management
  • Business analytics and intelligence
  • Research and Development
  • Baseline Market survey/ assessments/ research and impact study
  • Policy development and implementation
  • Corporate Governance
  • SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) development

In conclusion, the landscape of management consulting in Nepal is both evolving and challenging. While the industry may not be in its infancy, there is a pressing need for a paradigm shift in understanding the true purpose and impact of consulting assignments. The misconceptions widespread in the corporate world regarding management consulting require careful dismantling, and the upcoming article promises to address these head-ons.

As organizations navigate complex decision-making scenarios, bridge knowledge gaps, and seek external perspectives, the role of management consulting becomes increasingly crucial. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recognizing the holistic value that consultants bring, will be paramount. The commitment to breaking free from oversimplification, embracing change, and fostering a collaborative partnership between consultants and organizations is the key to unlocking the full potential of management consulting in Nepal. The journey toward effective organizational development and enhanced business performance is a collaborative one, where both consultants and clients must align their goals, expectations, and strategies for a successful and mutually beneficial outcome.

Khatri is a management consultant and an educator. He can be reached at

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