Practice Development: Balancing the 4Cs

Lionel Grealou Consulting, Leadership Leave a Comment


Practice development typically consists of developing value propositions, consulting and commercial models, strategic positioning, consulting frameworks to market service offerings, networking, facilitating the understanding of client’s requirements – as the first step in developing business relationships and the process leading to the award of a contract.

Practice development is part of a wider organizational competency management process, where the elements may be considered to be:

  • Competencies – How we go about our work
  • Attitude – How we prepare for work
  • Skills – What we can do
  • Knowledge – What we know
  • Differentiation – What unique benefits we bring

Practice development encompass 4 key areas which need to be balanced: 1) Competency, 2) Credibility, 3) Capability, and 4) Capacity.

1) Competency – is there a demand, and do we have a solution?

  • Do we have a compelling offering that answers the client’s needs or solves the client’s problems?
  • Do we have experienced and/or creative people to solve the problem, define the detailed requirement, architect a solution?
  • Is it something we can easily buy?
  • If we partner, do we have a joint solution that is compelling or unique?

2) Credibility – can we sell it, and how do we sell it?

  • What would make the client believe we can do what we say?
  • What evidence do we have to demonstrate credibility? e.g. approach, delivery models, case studies, references, testimonials, credibility of client-facing representatives, partner history and heritage.
  • What ‘trusted advisor’ relationships do we (or a partner) already have with clients?
  • What experience in other industries or with other clients can we leverage?

3) Capability – have we done it before, are we confident that we can do it?

  • Can we really do what we say?
  • What skills do we need?
  • What tools / enablers do we need?
  • Can we assess risks and define mitigation plans?
  • Do we need to partner to access capabilities we don’t have (or vice versa)?

4) Capacity – can we deliver / execute?

  • Do we have enough strength in depth?
  • Can we ramp-up / access the relevant resources?
  • Can we respond quickly enough?
  • Do we have a local interface?
  • Can our partners provide the necessary scale (or vice versa)?

What are your thoughts?


Credits: adapted and inspired by the words of Mark Williams.


This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 27 March 2015.