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Methodology, Standardization, Effectiveness, and Efficiency

by Randall Craig on August 8, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Growth, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , ,

Have you ever wondered how Starbucks, Mcdonalds, or any global retailer guarantees both consistent service and consistent food quality?  Or how KPMG, Baker & McKenzie, or any global advisory firm provides the same quality of work, no matter the jurisdiction?

Behind every successful french fry, coffee, or advisory engagement is one thing:  methodology.

Methodology is the best-of-class process that defines, step-by-step, how to deliver on a client requirement.  In the advisory world, it is the set of questions that an advisor must ask, supported by a deep knowledge base of tools, forms, and (hopefully) research.  Methodology is not a fixed set of answers that apply equally to each and every client that walks through the door.

A robust methodology is built by incorporating what is learned from every assignment.  It has an impact on staff training.  It impacts marketing and business development.  It directly reduces engagement risk for the client – and the advisor.  It helps McDonalds and Starbucks define their brand globally, but deliver locally.  Over time, methodology becomes a competitive advantage.

Without methodology – or with a sparse one – the best one can do is “re-learn” lessons at each touchpoint and on each engagement.  With methodology, better efficiency and improved effectiveness.

This week’s action plan: Does your organization use methodology for strategic advantage?  If so, is it fully documented?  Are all staff trained on it?  And do you use it in your marketing?  This week, strengthen your organization by updating (codifying?) your methodology.

Insight #1:  Behind every methodology is one more thing – great people.  They need to be smart enough to follow the standards, yet have judgment enough to know when to deviate from them.  Only by coloring outside of the lines will they be able to deliver precisely to your requirements… and extend and deepen the methodology itself.

Insight #2: Do you use methodology as criteria for choosing your advisors?  If their process looks a bit mushy, then look forward to the same experience when they are working for you.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

 Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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