Services

Alan’s consultancy services include:

Consultancy

 

An independent consultancy project can bring a fresh and objective perspective to the issues facing your organisation and to help make progress.

Using a consultant can help you develop a realistic future strategy, develop a clear and shared view on how to move forward and bring in support and practical help to strengthen your organisation.

Alan’s consultancy approach is very practical and focused. As well as analysing an issue he works with clients to ensure that recommendations are realistic, practical and make a real and positive difference.

Recent assignments have included:

  • Helping organisations build a future strategy to guide its future direction and priorities.
  • Reviewing an organisation’s structure to increase flexibility and communication.
  • Helping organisations evaluate ways of working together including mergers.
  • Designing a practical system of performance measures to show funders the impact of an organisation’s work.
  • Supporting managers in producing a business plan.
  • Helping an organisation plan for significant growth and manage the changes involved.

All consultancies start by agreeing what you want to achieve and get from it. Attention to detail and developing a clear plan to take it forward ensures that the consultancy produces much more than a report that gathers dust.

 

Strategy

 In times of change and uncertainty having a clear organisational strategy is an essential. A good strategy should set a clear direction for the organisation, give it a focus and clear priorities, help it to manage change and make a credible case for support to funders and backers.

 Alan’s work in strategy includes:

  • Work with organisations to review the issues and challenges ahead, agree where we want to get to and develop a realistic plan for doing so.
  • Designing and leading organisational away days to bring people together to take stock, review options and agree a way forward. Strategy away days are hard working, creative, high on participation, and ran in a way that leads to action.
  • Alan is the author of the UK’s best selling book on strategy in the voluntary sector, The Complete Guide to Strategic and Business Planning. Now in its fourth edition, many funders and organisations have used it as a template for what a plan should look like.
  • Helping managers and trustees to “see the wood for the trees”. Bringing an external perspective, carrying out a business analysis, and helping to develop future options and scenarios.
  • Supporting managers with major change projects such as setting up a social enterprise or developing collaboration with other similar agencies.
  • Turning strategy into business plans that are credible, realistic and make the case for support and investment to funders and commissioners.

 

Training

Alan is an experienced trainer and has developed a range of courses and workshops that are practical and based on real life issues and experience. All training courses have clear objectives, use a variety of approaches and are geared at giving people key skills and expertise that they can use.

Popular current courses include:

  1. Business and strategic planning – a course designed to demystify strategy and introduce a format and set of tools to think and act strategically and produce useful and credible plans.
  2. Bid ready? – Putting together a successful bid for public sector commissioners can be a demanding and time consuming process. This workshop looks at the bid writing process, outlines the commissioning and procurement process and suggests approaches for writing winning bids
  3. Building a broader income base – A workshop for managers looking at strategies for broadening their organisation’s income base. Using a range of tested tools and real life case studies we will look at the development of a credible business models, how to identify income generating activity and the key stages in developing and testing an idea.
  4. Managing projects - Many organisations are now a collection of fixed term projects. Based on case studies and practical experience this session will explore the organisational and business implications of managing fixed term projects and identify strategies and processes needed to manage them.
  5. Management development workshop - A course for established managers, who wish to update their approach, develop new skills and review how they tackle their management role. The course will provide a rare opportunity to stand back and reflect on how we approach management in a fast changing and challenging environment.
  6. The effective trustee - This workshop looks at how trustees can meet their legal obligations to ensure that their organisation operates properly and at the same time play a useful and realistic role in directing and supporting their organisation.

 

Evaluatations

It is no longer good enough just to do brilliant work now you have to show it and prove it. Good evaluation should be much more than simply counting things and producing data. It should be about learning from what you do, identifying what works and what doesn’t and helping you to move forward. Good evaluation can play a key role in making the case for support for your organisation as it provides useful evidence to explain what you do and the difference that it makes.

Alan’s work in evaluation includes:

  • Developing evaluation systems. Helping organisations to design and use useful evaluation systems that monitor and measure their work and gets inputs from users and other stakeholders.
  • All about outcomes. Outcomes are about the differences that your work makes or contributes to. Measuring outcomes is hard work. It is easier just to show that you are busy. Alan has worked with several organisations to demystify outcomes and develop systems to plan and identify useful outcomes.
  • Stakeholder reviews. Getting independent feedback and views from users, partners, funders and others can give you a valuable insight and help you to identify how to move forward.
  • Work with/for funders. Alan has carried out several evaluations for funders and commissioners to help them to identify progress and the difference that their investment makes.
  • Quality assurance. Alan can help organisations set quality standards to ensure that their work is of a consistent standard and based on best practice. Alan can also provide independent advice on the various external quality assurance standards that are currently operating.

 

Organisational Development

Our organisations need to continually adapt and respond to changes. Organisational development is about improving organisational effectiveness aligning strategy, people and processes.

Alan’s work includes:

  1. Effective governance. Alan runs reviews and workshops for several organisations to ensure that trustees are aware of their role and to agree effective ways of working. Alan regularly design and run board away days so that trustees can to look at their role and agree how they can best operate.
  2. Collaboration. A lot of recent work has been on helping organisations explore ways of collaborating with organisations that have similar aims. Alan has successfully helped organisations set up a range of structures from alliances, joint ventures, group structures and mergers.
  3. Effectiveness. Alan regularly helps organisations review how they work, update structures and processes and plan for change. Alan designs and facilitates planning days designed to encourage new and creative approaches, develop teamwork and agree a way forward.
  4. Income and business models. Alan can help organisations to review their current income and business models, identify what services really cost and test out the viability of establishing social enterprises.
  5. Structures. Alan can bring an external perspective to organisational reviews and restructures. Alan can help managers and teams to identify how their structure is working and identify ways of improving how our organisations are organised.

 

Bid Support

Commissioning is a main specialism. Putting a bid together can be a demanding task. Simply because an organisation does brilliant work doesn’t mean it will win the contract.

Alan’s work on bidding and commissioning includes

  • Bid readiness. Ensuring that an organisation is ‘bid ready’ and has the policies, procedures and evidence that commissioners increasingly demand.
  • Commissioning. Alan can help organisations understand how the commissioning process should work (and also what happens in practice). I work with organisations to help them influence commissioners and develop their ability to produce good bids.
  • Bid support. Alan regularly helps organisations to produce bids by advising on the bid structure and content, ensuring that bids are fully costed and acting as a critical friend to review and improve draft bids.

 

 

© 2016 Alan Lawrie - The Assembly, 3rd Floor, Virginia House 5-7 Great Ancoats St Manchester, M4 5AD