A management consultant may play one of 2 roles with a client who seeks their help to develop new business or marketing strategy:
• Role 1. As an enabler to the organisation or
• Role 2. As the lead author of the strategy document

But does it really matter which role they play when the objective is the same i.e. to help the client devise strategy that reflects the best options for the organisation’s future and how it might get there?
I believe it does matter and here’s why.
As an enabler, the consultant facilitates the organisation’s board and executives through the often unwieldy process of strategy development. They do not take on ownership of the strategy process.
As a strategy lead author, the consultant has ownership of the emerging strategy and in doing so can easily create what is often disparagingly referred to as “the consultant’s strategy” (“not our strategy”). While the client organisation may save planning time for its busy executives and time strapped board through engaging the consultant author, the organisation misses out on the valuable opportunity to remodel, shape, mould and even break the mould if needs be, to come up with “their own new strategy”.
Consider the following recent consultant’s brief as an example of the consultant being engaged as author rather than enabler/facilitator. I’m not suggesting that this brief is in any way inappropriate for the organisation in question but it does I feel miss out on the exciting and challenging process possibilities that might otherwise be afforded by facilitation, even if facilitation takes a little longer!

“The Organisation requires a contractor to:
Support it in the development of an appropriate strategic statement for the period 2015 – 2017
• This strategic statement will be consistent with the organisation’s remit and capable of implementation, considering the available resources internally and externally. It must also be easily communicable.
Specific Requirements
• Implement an agreed methodology to :
1. Liaise with stakeholders to assess inputs
2. Conduct an analysis of the operating environment
3. Propose and agree related organisational vision, mission, priorities and goals.
4. Initial assessments of existing and potential areas of work
• The successful applicant will present findings to the Organisation board and executive
• Accordingly the successful applicant will provide a complete report outlining recommendations and findings”
What do you think?