Steven Noske is a management consultant and an expert in the field of oil and gas. With more than three decades of experience, he understands all layers of a successful business. Through his own practice, Ausoco Energy Management, Noske helps small companies expand their business and achieve their goals.
Although managing projects and operations is his specialty, Steven Noske holds many leadership roles. In fact, while working as a private consultant, he often helps guide businesses towards better decision-making procedures. As far as his field of focus, he is equally active in commercial, technical, and operational management. Thus, his resume is a long list of diverse and successful ventures.
What exactly is management consulting?
Management consulting is a practice where internal operational problems are diagnosed and solved by third-party experts. It is focused on companies that are struggling to overcome issues which may be hindering their production and growth. These are usually smaller businesses where strategies are not working well, and efficiency levels are deteriorating fast.
Sometimes, the issues can reach a point where no solution that comes from within the company helps. Once that happens, hiring a reputable management consultant with a fresh set of eyes is the only way to hit the “restart” button.
What is the power behind management consulting?
Diverse experiences. When management consulting firms come in, they are bringing a wide range of experts from different industries. They have seen companies of all different sizes and specialties struggle to perform. For instance, I have more than 30 years of experience in oil and gas. Even if I am consulting with a company that is not involved in the energy industry, my experience can offer a unique insight into their issues. But more generally, management consulting provides a fresh set of eyes to an issue. From what I have noticed, a lot of businesses have a shortage of the unbiased perspective that helps solve issues. So, the greatest power of professional consulting is the unparalleled experience that specialists bring.
How did you originally get into this field?
During the period between 2011 and 2016, I led many smaller organizations. To better describe my role, I was the one in charge of internal affairs and external milestones. Meaning, I had to oversee all of the operations and keep them on track to reach quarterly goals. This experience was essential to my development of strong leadership skills. After a while, I recognized that my knowledge and passion were in management consulting, so I made the switch.
What should companies expect to gain from a third-party management consultant?
A few different things. First and foremost, they can expect to see a brand-new approach. That means that the independent consulting firm will show them how certain situations need to be addressed. Additionally, they should expect some harsh criticism as most management consultants is unlikely to sugarcoat anything. Instead, they often deliver feedback as bluntly as possible to help the parties better understand what is not working well.
It is also important to note what should not be expected. A common misconception in this field pertains to “guarantees” that some companies offer. For example, certain consulting firms will tell prospective clients that an increase in production is guaranteed. The problem, however, is that there is no way to guarantee something like that. So, businesses that hire management consultants should not expect a warranty to come with the service.
Are there common areas where smaller businesses make mistakes?
Well, it somewhat depends on the industry. Many product companies that I worked with had issues with raw material costs or shipping. Generally speaking, those problems are fixed by outsourcing. If you look at service-based companies, however, their issues may be completely different. Some of the common ones I noticed include a lack of timeliness and consistency. Nevertheless, the shortcomings that arise are directly related to the market. After all, you cannot expect a restaurant business and an accounting firm to face many overlapping situations.
Is there anything that companies should do before hiring a management consulting professional?
Know what you expect to get out of the service. Meaning, let the consultant know if you would like to increase revenues, improve employee satisfaction, or something else. This is important because it helps the management company create a custom strategy. It also makes it easier to hold the consultant accountable if they fail to reach the goal.