Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is process consulting?

Author Peter Block describes three approaches to consulting; expert, pair of hands, and process. An “expert” consultant comes in diagnoses the situation, prescribes an intervention and then leaves. A “pair of hands” consultant provides a competency that the organization does not have available in-house, like web design or building design. A “process” consultant works from the perspective that the expertise to solve problems or take advantage of opportunities exists within the organization. Like a coach or a therapist, a process consultant helps organizations identify, organize and activate their own expertise. I’ve helped organizations improve their response time performance, integrate acquired companies, resist unionizing attempts, avoid a strike by disgruntled employees, conduct multi-site clinical research trials, and more using the process-oriented approach.

Who can benefit from process improvement consulting?

Two kinds of companies really benefit from Process Improvement Consulting. The first type is organizations that are trying to achieve something they’ve never done before. For this type of organization, I work with them to create a process and set up a system for monitoring it and making any needed modifications. The second kind of organization is one that is doing something it has done before, but wants to do better in the future. For these kinds of companies, I help them examine what the process for achieving that goal has been in the past and whether or not it was successful. If it wasn’t successful, what parts of it were helpful and what would have made it more successful? Then we implement the changes and set up systems for monitoring how they’re doing going forward.

What are the benefits of process improvement?

My experience is that when a company wants to do something different or better from what they’ve done in the past, the most reliable means to consistent success is focusing on the process. Some companies don’t have a clear picture of what their process is. Some companies might even argue that they don’t have a process — things just happen the way they do because that’s how it’s always been. Whether or not they admit it, every company has processes — it’s how things get done. The benefit of process improvement is that things get done better, consistently, using the strengths that exist within the organization and when things get better people feel like they have done it themselves, because they have.

Do you also provide expert consulting?

Once in a while, I will. More often when someone asks me to do expert consulting I’ll bring in some of my colleagues from Fitch and Associates to work with me on the project. They are the world’s largest and most respected EMS consulting firm.

Do you provide pair of hands consulting?

Yes I do. Most of my requests for pair of hands consulting involve the writing and management of proposals in response to Requests for Proposals issued by government agencies.

Do I even need a consultant?

One of my mentors, Jack Stout, used to say, “No one calls in a consultant when everything is going fabulously, employees are happy, profits are up, turnover is low, key business partners are satisfied.” That’s not been my experience and I’ve done a lot of work over the years for clients who were in that situation, and said something to me like, “We’re doing really well and we’d like to get even better.” My belief is that no one has more expertise in your business than you do, because it’s your business. I start from the perspective that the knowledge and skills to solve whatever problem is at hand or take advantage of most opportunities exist within your organization. The work I do with you and your team is focused on finding ways to help you access the expertise that you and the people in your organization already possess, bringing it to the surface, and activating it so that you can take effective action. If you wonder if your organization could benefit from some process consulting, give me a call, I’m happy to help you sort out what you want or need for free.

Can you help us set up a quality management process?

I really enjoy helping organizations clarify their vision, values, purpose, performance indicators, and improvement projects. Setting the leadership team up with the knowledge so that they can validly analyze the performance of their key processes is deeply satisfying. I also work one-on-one with senior leaders as a coach helping them to work through complex or difficult issues while improving their own effectiveness.

What are you teaching about these days?

As an educator, I identify areas of knowledge in the healthcare industry that are not being met and then I create presentations, write articles and books, and develop community-based outreach programs to disseminate that knowledge to the appropriate group most effectively. I’ve published more than 400 articles and contributed to several books, spoken in 48 states and been keynote presenter at every major national conference in the emergency medical services field. Currently I’m interested in performance improvement, quality management, employee engagement, leadership development, chronic disease management and self-care education.