Proposal To Shoes And Bags Ltd Commerce Essay

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Section A

Our Firm: Corlis & Dawkins Consultancy

We are one of the UK's leading consulting firms and a preferred choice of many small and medium size enterprises. We have also developed a strong position in the non profit sector of the UK market. Our firm was established in 1985 by a team of four experienced strategists with a strong background in business management, project management, corporate strategy, corporate finance and human resource development. Over the last 25 years, our team has grown tremendously and is currently made up of 57 partners; 20 senior consultants and 37 junior consultants. We strive on building long term relationships with our clients by providing a bespoke service which is tailored to their individual needs. Our service proposition is guided by three founding principles; Change, Value and Sustainability (Cope, 2003). These principles guide our engagement and our self assessment of every project.

Our Approach

Our approach is unique, yet it provides us with a broad base to deliver a quality service to our clients. It is based on 5 values, principles and objectives; Clarity, Involvement, Transparency, Integrity and Trusted advisor (Cope, 2003; Obolensky, 1994; Harris-Loxley and Page, 2001).

Clarity- Understanding the client's perspective and what the client hopes to achieve. Collaborating with the client to develop a workable and sustainable solution to the issues faced by the client (Price, 2005). In our contract we set out and agree timelines and milestones, we set benchmarks, we develop and agree on measurable outcomes, and we develop future quality control procedures (Biggs, 2010)

Involvement- Working closely with our clients and their partners to develop an appropriate leadership development program that is aligned to and adds value to the ongoing business transformation program

Transparency- We do not employ a 'black box' approach to consulting like some of our competitors. We employ a 'glass funnel' approach wherein our client's engagement at every step of the way is essential -process consultation (Schein, 1999; Sherwood and Callahan, 2006). We do this by allowing the client to participate in problem discovery, program development and program implementation (Schein, 1990; Schein, 1999). As such our clients can understand what we do and why we do what we do (Biggs, 2010).

Integrity- Our approach is based on tested and proven techniques. Our recommendations are based on robust research and measurable findings. We understand the need for confidentiality and we have a proven track record to demonstrate our integrity.

Trusted Advisor- As opposed to some of our competitors in the large businesses sector, our approach is to serve our clients in the capacity of a trusted advisor on a continuous developmental basis (Harris-Loxley and Page, 2001). As a trusted advisor, we would be on hand to review, discuss and tackle issues almost as soon as they arrive. Through our continuous developmental approach we would also be in the best position to spot emerging trends and to guide our clients towards adapting and taking advantage of such trends- thus creating sustained value for our clients.

Our general approach to our consulting projects is laid out as above. Arguably, our approach is largely 'method-driven' as opposed to laissez-faire (Obolensky, 1994). Our method-driven approach allows us to use tried, tested and proven techniques to approach the problems faced by our clients. We however recognize the need to tailor our approach to the individual needs of our customers. We therefore start by investigating the client problem through adequate research and then develop a formidable program to initiate and direct sustainable change. Nonetheless, our firm is happy to renegotiate, refine and redefine certain aspects of our approach to tailor our service to our client's needs.

Our Experience

We have been privileged to work with some of the world's leading companies on several engagements and through this we have built a reputation of reliability, flexibility and value driven (Biggs, 2010). We have developed and implemented several leadership and management development programs for our many satisfied clients in the fashion industry including firms such as Sports Direct, Jones Bootmaker, Miss Selfridge, Schuh, Dune, Clarks, Newlook and Barratts. The experience garnered from each individual project helps us to develop ourselves as well as provide creative and innovative solutions to our new or repeat clients.

Our Accreditations

Our capability, integrity, experience, quality, reliability and the value for money our service provides is demonstrated in the several accreditations our firm holds. We have been voted as 'one of the best companies to work for' in the Sunday Times rankings indicating our commitment to developing ourselves. All our partners hold accreditations from the Institute of Business Consulting- Certified Management Consultant. We as a firm also hold the BN ES ISO 9001: 2000 which is a quality assurance status for all our services.

Our leadership development service

We offer a comprehensive organizational development service based on a holistic approach to organizational development. The service is broadly divided into two strands; strategic organization development and leadership development.

Strategic Organizational development- We at Corlis & Dawkins, understand that organization development is a continuous process through which organizations adapt to their constantly changing environment as well as remain competitive in the face of increasing industry competition. We have accumulated executive experience over the past 25 years and we hope to employ this wealth of experience to the issues facing your firm. Our experience will let us collaborate with you to allow you understand your organization based on its history and to understand the direction towards which your organization is heading. Our goal is to develop and implement a leadership or executive training program that will allow your leaders to be leaders of change. This will align our work with that of our partners, Retail Advantage, and will draw on the experience and creativity of both firms to enhance problem solving.

Leadership development- Leadership has increasingly become a source of competitive advantage. In a business world where change has suddenly become the norm rather than that rare occurrence, change ready leaders who can initiate and manage change within corporations are driving firm performance. Our service challenges leaders to constantly re-examine and re-evaluate values and the organizations practices as emphasized by Schon's model of double loop learning (Smith, 2001; Argyris and Schön, 1996). Through this, they are able to question the status quo and initiate or create innovative propositions for the firm. Our program further imbibes leaders with the hard skills such as functional training as well as the soft skills such as communication and reflexive practice which are necessary for successful change management.

As part of the leadership development program, we offer executive coach as well as executive team coaching services which allows them to reflect on their leadership practice as well as develop new insights and approaches to improve practice.

The client: Shoes and Bags

From our research, we understand that Shoes and Bags is currently engaged in a major business transformation and restructuring program aimed at increasing effectiveness and efficiency across its business functions. We understand that the firm operates nation side through its 50 outlets located in London (20), Edinburgh (10), Wales (10) and Manchester (10). Our records show that the firm employs 2000 full time and 3000 part time staff; 40 fulltime and 60 part-time per store, each store headed by a senior manager.

The task at hand is the development and the provision of a senior management training program to enable leaders (senior management) to be change leaders.

Our strategic fit

Given our expertise in psychological research, human resource development, business survey work, we believe we are ideally placed to accomplish this project and create value for our clients. Our expertise will be most useful in our engagement with Shoes and Bags. It will also complement the service provided by your partner (Retail Advantage Consultancy).

Section B

The proposal

The object of our consulting engagement is to initiate and direct change and deliver realisable and sustainable value to our client (Cope, 2003). Three words; 'change', 'value' and 'sustainable' stand out from this statement. The framework constituting the consultancy life cycle which we apply to our engagement is the 'Seven C's framework' developed by Cope (2003). These 7 C's include; Client, Clarify, Create, Change, Confirm, Continue and Close; constituting seven different aspects within the consultancy lifecycle.

Client- client's orientation, goals, expectations and agreement

Clarify- Nature and detail of the problem (change leadership development) and who is involved (50 senior managers)

Create- develop a sustainable solution measured against a success criteria or benchmark

Change- implement program

Confirm- certify that change has taken place

Continue- ensure continuation and sustainability of change

Close- end engagement with client (Cope, 2003)

This framework is used to develop our consulting strategy for Shoes and Bags. This framework guides our engagement with Shoes and Bags Ltd and defines the methodological choice proposed for this project. The pertinent aspects of the proposal; objectives & scope, methodology, work-plan, timing, staffing and costing are discussed below.

Objectives, goal and scope

The engagement aims to achieve two objectives noted below;

To develop a comprehensive senior leadership training program

To provide a holistic and value driven senior leadership training program

The goal of the program is, 'To enable leaders to be change leaders'

The scope of the engagement includes 50 senior managers at 4 geographic divisions of Shoes and Bags LTD

Methodology

Our methodology is shaped by the objectives and the scope of our engagement.

The basic model used to develop and provide a comprehensive senior management leadership training program is the simple 'instructional design process' (Broad and Newstrom, 1992). The model is a cyclical model which starts off with the analysis of the situation (issues) through research, this leads to the design of workable and suitable strategies and programs geared towards the issues raised in the analysis stage. The design stage is followed by a development stage, where the strategies and programs are put in a practical context. This is followed by an implementation stage where the designed and developed strategies are put into practice in an attempt to solve the problem. The final stage is an evaluation stage (quality control) where the participants are assessed to ascertain whether the training has had a profound impact on their behaviour. This final stage feeds back to an analysis phase whether the new situation is tested to verify if there has been any improvement and to understand the training and development needs of the future. The model is shown below;

Analyze

Design

Develop

Implement

Evaluate

Figure: Instructional design process; adapted from Broad and Newstrom (1992)

Analyze

We understand that Shoes and Bags LTD has 50 senior managers and 4 directors. We understand that the goal of the senior leadership training program and the subject of our proposed engagement is to enable senior managers to become change leaders. In the analysis phase of the project, we will aim to assess the training needs of individual managers against our benchmark of an ideal change leader.

Our ideal change leader has the following five main characteristics (adopted from the works of Buchanan and Boddy, 1992) amongst others

Characteristic 1 -Understands and fully accepts the need for change. This leader will clearly communicate the need for change to his subordinates and defence the need for change through the organization. He will be able to create and enhance and open sympathetic and approachable working environment within which employee concerns can be brought to light (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992).

Characteristic 2- The change leader should be able to initiate change (in attitudes, work habits, processes, and approaches). He should be able to identify leverage points which can be tackled to institute change quickly and more effectively (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992).

Characteristic 3- After initiating change, the change leader should actually be able to lead change. This will be done by understanding the vision of the company and communicating persuasively on the role of change in attainment of the vision and objectives of the company. In reverse, the leader should be able to translate the vision of the company into different change initiatives (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992).

Characteristic 4- The leader should be capable of managing complex change process by creating and implementing a strategic plan or practical course for change within his team. This will be possible only if the leader understand the inherent cultural dynamics with the firm (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992).

Characteristic 5- Finally, the leader should champion change by constantly challenging the current state of affairs and finding better ways in which things can be done. This in essence is the development of an ability to revolutionize the firm and its business (Buchanan and Boddy, 1992).

Against these benchmarks, we will conduct individual interviews with all the 50 senior managers. These interviews will be aimed at assessing their individual training needs and understanding their perceptions of the current changes in the firm and their potential contributions to this process. The next step in the process (as given by our model) will be to design an intervention strategy.

Design

The intervention strategy designed at this stage will be tailored to meet the specific and unique needs of the different senior managers. The time line for this design stage will be informed by the variations amongst individual managers. It will be discussed with directors to ensure that the client and their partners are aligned with the project. Inadvertently, we envisage that most senior managers will have identical training needs but this is yet to be established.

Development

Amongst different training development strategies, are the use of presentations, self training, mentoring programs, focus (discussion) groups, the use of other resources (short films, CDs, DVDs, Books, spreadsheets) in conjunction with discussion forums etc (Wickham, 2004; Phillips and Shaw, 2006). In addition to already existing resources, some new resources tailored to meet the specific needs of some of the senior managers at Shoes and Bags will be developed.

Implementation

The program will be implemented through a mix of seminars, work shops, one to one training sessions, focus group discussions, presentations

Evaluation

The evaluation process in this case shall be continuous through questionnaires, informal discussions, informal interviews, observations etc. A more formal evaluation shall be done at the end of the project with the aim of assessing each senior manager on the basis of the benchmarks set at the start of the project.

Analyze

This again will constitute a quality control phase, where in the work that has been done will be assessed in line with the benchmarks that were set initially. This stage will be done continuously and over a period of time to assess the progress made by senior managers and to evaluate if further training will be necessary as recommended in Shays (2005). The whole process can be reinitiated depending on the new training needs identified and the client's assessment of these needs.

Work Plan

Shoes and Bags operates in four locations; London, Manchester, Wales and Edinburgh. We at Corlis & Dawkins plan to use 5 senior consultants supported by 10 junior consultants and a host of administrative staff to complete the project. The interviews and assessments will be conducted systematically from one location to the other. Once plans are agreed the implementation of training plans will be location based i.e. one central location will be used for programs in London, Manchester, Wales and Edinburgh. Our different teams of consultants will travel to such locations to complete the programs. A tentative guide on the timeline, costs and staffing is given below;

Tentative Timeline and Staffing

A Gantt chart to demonstrate the time tabling of the consultancy project

ID

Task name

Duration

Staffing

Consultant Days

Client

Start Date

End Date

01

Shoes and Bags Senior Leadership Training Program

6 Months

184

50 Senior Managers

1st February

1st July

02

Stage 1: Interview protocols and Questionnaire development

12 Days

5 Consultants

5 Senior Managers, HR Director

1st February

22nd February

03

Develop general interview protocols and questionnaires

3 Days

5 Consultants, (2 Senior, 3 Junior)

15

0

1st February

3rd February

04

Discuss Interview protocols with client (shoes and Bags)

2 Days

2 Senior Consultants

4

HR Director

5th February

6th February

05

Pilot Interviews and Questionnaires

3 Days

2 Consultants

6

5 Senior Managers

10th February

15th February

06

Restructure interview protocols and refine questionnaires

4 Days

3 Consultants

12

0

17th February

22nd February

07

Stage 2: Main Research

08

London Interviews

2 Days

5 Consultants

10

20 Senior Managers

24th February

26th February

09

Manchester Interviews

1 Day

5 Consultants

5

10 Senior Managers

27th February

27th February

10

Wales Interviews

1 Day

5 Consultants

5

10 Senior Managers

1st March

1st March

11

Edinburgh Interviews

1 Day

5 Consultants

5

10 Senior Managers

3rd March

3rd March

12

Transcribing interview transcripts

10 Days

10 Junior Consultants

0

0

25th February

5th March

13

Submission for review & confirmation of Transcripts by senior managers

10 Days

50 Senior Managers

25th February

5th March

14

Data Analysis & identification of training needs

5 Days

5 Senior Consultants, 5 Junior Consultants

0

0

8th March

13th March

15

Write up of reports

3 Days

2 Senior Consultants and 2 Junior Consultants

6

0

12th March

15th March

16

Design of Training needs

2 Days

5 Senior Consultants

10

0

17th March

19th March

17

Review of reports with client and Discussion of training needs

2 Days

5 Senior Consultants

10

All 4 Directors

20th March

22nd March

18

Development of comprehensive training program

5 Days

5 Senior Consultants

25

0

23rd March

30th March

19

Implementation of training program

8 Days (1 Day a week/ 8 weeks)

5 Senior Consultants, 5 Junior Consultants

40

50 Senior managers

1st April

1st June

20

Evaluation

Continuous

5 Senior Consultants, 5 Junior Consultants

50 Senior managers

1st April

1st June

21

Stage 3: Analysis

5 Days

5 Senior Consultants

25

50 Senior Managers

15th June

20th June

22

Feedback and Reports

3 Days

3 Senior Consultants, 2 Junior Consultants

6

0

25th June

28th June

23

Project signoff

1st July

Figure: Table (abbreviated Gantt Chart) showing the timeline and staffing needs for the project

Cost Schedule

Our cost schedule is only tentative and is meant to give you and idea of the costs involved in the program. We are however very happy to further discuss this with you. We generally charge an hourly rate of £80 for our senior consultants and £45 for the junior consultants which are very competitive rates compared to the industry. In the case of projects like this one, we charge a variable rate of £350 per consultant day (typically 4 hours) which provides a significant discount to our clients. The computation of consultant days excludes the support work done by junior consultants in most aspects thus making our pricing the best in the industry. These rates cover the costs incurred by our company and wages of our partners. Other costs for special training materials, resources and equipment will be negotiated with the client

Total number of consultant days for the project = 184 Consultant Days

Price per consultant days = £350

Total Cost = 184 * 300 = £64,400

Required resources

The resources required for the program will be provided by our firm as part of the training package

Tools for project completion

Some of the tools which will be employed in this project include

Gantt Charts- To set milestones and measure progress

Questionnaires- such as Employee satisfaction questionnaires, Multiple Intelligence questionnaires

Interviews- One to one (face to face) interviews, Group Interviews, Focus Groups and Discussions

Gap analysis- 12S cultural audit instrument, Training needs analysis (to identify gaps prior to the design of training and development programs)

360 Degree feedback- to allow leaders to gain insights from the perspectives of different stakeholders

Quality control measures

Quality control will be a continuous process. We will assess the impact of our training through formal and informal routes. We will also engage with your partners and yourselves (Shoes and Bags LTD) to ensure that our training program meets and exceeds your expectations.

Conclusion

We would again, like to thank you company for the opportunity to tender in this proposal. As noted above this is only a tentative and a brief guide to our plans for completing the task. We are happy to discuss this with you and make amendments to suit your specific needs. We thrive on building and sustaining good and mutually beneficial relationships with our clients. We look forward to an opportunity of further discussing our proposal with your company.

Best Regards,

Sign Date

On behalf of Corlis & Dawkins Consultancy

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