Case study for Catalyst:ed expert Selection
Please read through the scenario and provide a brief (not more than a page) response to the question below.
Note: While the scenario features a human capital consultant and project, the situation outlined here is applicable to consultants and projects from other domain areas as well (for example, a strategy, curriculum or technology expert may come across similar situations in his or her project work). We therefore ask that you focus your response on the challenges faced by the consultant rather than the content area.
The Consultant: Jennifer Carter has over a decade of experience in human capital and performance management. Most recently, she was Director of Human Resources at a large school district where she was responsible for developing and implementing human capital strategy and policies. Jennifer recently decided to transition into independent consulting and has just been matched to her first project.
The Project: Jennifer’s first client is a large CMO, which has engaged her to redesign the mentoring and coaching program for their novice teachers across 24 schools. The current program was put in place three years ago, but has failed to deliver its intended results. Jennifer has 4 months to understand what’s not working, design a program based on best practice, get buy-in from leadership and build out an implementation plan.
The Challenge: Although Jennifer has worked in human resources for over 12 years, the last 9 years have been at the same school district. Based on her research into the CMO and the project scope, she knows that this will be a totally new context for her. The CMO’s schools and teachers are spread across three states, and she will have to coordinate with three state teams to understand their needs and get their buy-in. She herself will be working on the project remotely. Also, she knows that this project will be just one of many priorities for the state teams, and, unlike in her previous role, she will have no direct supervisory authority over the team to ensure things get done and no pre-existing relationships that she can leverage.
The Question: Jennifer knows she needs to establish trust and get the three teams aligned right from the start of the project. If you were Jennifer, what steps would you take in the first two weeks to set up the project for success?