Episode 50

Vector’s Decisive Competitive Edge in the Consulting Industry

Category :  Leadership Paradigms

Join us for our 50th Counterpoint Podcast episode, where we unveil 'Systemic Analysis & Holistic Intervention.' This powerful tool delivers exceptional client results. We demystify it for you, exploring its real-world benefits. Tune in for this enlightening reveal!

Shubham Agarwal Hello and a very warm welcome to the counterpoint podcast. I’m your host, Shubham Agarwal. Often when people ask me, what do I do for a living? I respond with saying, I’m a management consultant. And the response by those who know about consulting in general, go on saying, oh, okay, that, yeah, a lot of companies do that these days. And they take some typical names, to which I quickly jump onto and respond, no we are different. I tell them two things. One, that we are implementation specialists, and second, that we bring systemic analysis and holistic intervention. Heavy complex words, I think, right? Do they really mean something unique? I think they do. Now, if time permits, almost everyone asked me to explain further, and I love doing so. The first implementation specialist is something that we’ve covered in the previous episode, the one with Visu, please do check it out if you haven’t already. Now, this particular episode, we shall dedicate to understanding the second part, which is systemic analysis, and holistic intervention. We are once again joined by Visu, Senior Consultant at Vector Consulting Group, who will help us break down and explain in extremely simple terms what this means. So, let’s welcome him. Hi Visu, welcome to the counterpoint podcast once again, how are you?
Visu Thanks, buddy. I’m doing fine. It’s my pleasure.
Shubham Agarwal Great. So, Visu let’s, let’s start with the discussion and understand this term systemic analysis and holistic intervention. Now, you know, analysis is like a pet term these days, especially with the consultants, everyone’s behind it right and we call it systemic analysis. Is it any different from the traditional meaning of analysis?
Visu Yes, it is Shubham a lot different. So, traditionally, if you see business diagnostics, it is mostly based on the approach of analysis. The analysis is a reductionist approach, where a problem is broken into independent causes and further down, then we deal with each cause separately. For example, if sales are down, what are the reasons there will be four or five reasons and we will be dealing with individually. Now on the face of it, it looks the obvious thing. But on the other hand, systemic systems thinking as adopted by Vector Consulting Group takes radically a different view. It is not just about analysis, but synthesis which is required. Synthesis meaning looking at interconnections between causes, to understand the big picture, however, this is easier said than done, and hence, conveniently avoided in traditional approaches. The first step in this journey is clearly distinguishing between what not to do and what to do.
Shubham Agarwal Interestingly Visu, I think that’s a good starting point. But, you know, sadly, things don’t come with a red flag. So how do we know what not to do? How do we distinguish between the two?
Shubham Agarwal That’s a good question Shubham for that, we in Vector Consulting Group follows a robust guiding framework, I can explain you briefly what the guiding framework are we use in Vector which are ingrained in our DNA for decades together.
Shubham Agarwal Please, sure.
Visu Yeah, the first element of this framework is called leverage point analysis. This means there are no complex systems in the world. However, complex it may look like at the beginning or surface level, when we deep dive using logical analysis, we see the simplicity hidden underneath called a leverage point.
Shubham Agarwal Okay. So, Visu, can we use an example here and draw a comparison between the two systems to clarify this further?
Visu Yeah, definitely. So, for example, there are two systems say system A and system B. If I ask you, which system is complex, most likely, he will say system B, you know, why.
Shubham Agarwal So, so I’ll just interrupt you here Visu, just for a second and for the benefit of all my listeners, I will just tell them that you know, these two systems are depicted in the description of this episode. So, you can have a look the system A consists of four circles, which are independent circles, while system B have a lot of circles which are interconnected. Yeah.
Visu Yeah, going ahead. If I ask you Shubham, which system is complex you or the audience? Most likely, they will say system B, you know why, because the commonly available definition of complexity is how much effort is required to describe a system. More the effort more the complex it is. In this definition, it is no wonder system B is more complex than system A. It requires explaining system B in more detail, including there are seven circles and the dimensions about the circles. And then we should explain each and every arrow that connections between the circles etc. Whereas in system A, the description is very simple. There are four circles period. But when we redefine the word complexity, as, efforts required to influence the system’s outcome or performance, then our understanding becomes a radically different Shubham. System A is more complex than system B. Because in system B, we know that if we touch or affect the bottom circle, the rest of the logically connected entities can be influenced. And hence, the final performance can be what we want. Whereas for system A, in the absence of the knowledge on the logical connections, among the circles, we have no idea whatsoever it may be to influence systems A’s ka outcome, which circle should we touch in what sequence, etc.
Shubham Agarwal So, if it is so easy to find the leverage point using the cause-and-effect Visu. Why can’t someone else do it? I mean, what is so unique about Vector?
Visu Yeah, that’s an interesting question Shubham. So, most of the times, this leverage point is masked by the conflicts. Or let me put it this way that we have taken the conflicts for granted. And that is why in Vector, we have the second element of our guiding framework, understanding the conflicts behind chronic unresolved issues. This means in reality, there are no contradictions or conflicts, we firmly believe there are no conflicts or contradictions. When we deep dive and surface out and challenge all the assumptions holding the contradictions or the conflict. We see the harmony hidden underneath. I think I should explain the same through an example as well.
Shubham Agarwal Sure.
Visu Once I was conducting a session with one of our clients, the session was happening on the fifth floor where I was discussing the same point exactly. Then one gentleman stood up in the middle of the session and asked me, Visu can you prove this now through a live example. So, I thought for a while, I picked up two gentlemen from the audience, and sent them out to measure the height of the building where we were. After a while one person came up with the height of 100m while the other person came up with the height of 75m. I responded by saying that both could be right. The audience laughed at me stating how come Visu? One building can have more than one height. Either both are wrong, or either one is right. But both can never be right. So, in deeper inquiry with these two gentlemen, we understood that one person did not include the basement car park in his height measurement.
Shubham Agarwal Oh, interesting. Yeah.
Visu So having understood the wrong assumption, that the harmony was hiding under this wrong assumption, and hence the conflict is broken.
Shubham Agarwal Right. That’s a very interesting example to, you know, put forth your point. But Visu if these two guiding elements of the framework speaks volumes of uniqueness about the Vector’s approach, is that all we need or is there something else to the story as well?
Visu No, it is not the end of the story Shubham, having understood these two-guiding framework with our experience, we must clearly state a word of caution. The word of caution is during these two-guiding framework, leverage point analysis and breaking the conflict. One should not be distracted by fundamental attribution.
Shubham Agarwal Okay. And could you explain what is fundamental attribution to us, please?
Visu Yeah, definitely, Shubham definitely, the fundamental attribution is the biggest obstacle for successfully imbibing above Vector’s frameworks I just explained.
Shubham Agarwal Okay, you mean to say fundamental attribution error.
Visu Yeah, so if you see in reality, systems that’s where we are doing systemic analysis based out of synthesis approach. They do not speak for themselves, right?
Shubham Agarwal Yeah
Visu But we can understand the system only by talking to the people who manage the systems. If we fall into the trap of judging the people, rather than understanding the system, then we cannot do judicious systemic analysis. Hence, the best way to insulate ourselves from this trap is by not attributing personality traits, or the attributes or bad intentions of specific people as a reason for business issues.
Shubham Agarwal So, Visu I think, very interesting, you know, how we explain the Vector’s framework. So, I think we understand the Vector’s framework, and, you know, we get to how, we are different and unique in our approach. But what is so unique about the framework for the clients? What do the clients get out of this framework when we implement this?
Visu Yeah, that’s a good question. There must be something for the client as well. And that is a much, much bigger thing for the client Shubham. So, we at vector have experienced with almost all our clients, that any situation of stagnation can be turned into a rapid growth by Vector’s innovation process. The above way of synthesis-based diagnosis helps us to innovate interventions, to bring our clients out of stagnation. That’s where we get unlimited potential, which is hidden underneath the mismanagement of systems, which is fourth element of Vector’s guiding framework, Shubham.
Shubham Agarwal Wonderful Visu, I think that was a great discussion. And it clearly depicts and, you know, details out how we are different, how we are unique in our approach, and how that helps the clients that we have implemented the solution at. And I think that’ll help a lot of our listeners to understand what’s so unique about Vector. And probably people would have questions. If they do so they can always write to us. So, for all the listeners, if you have any questions or doubts, you’re very welcome to write to us, and we would love to respond to them. That’s it for this episode. We’ll keep bringing more such episodes with interesting topics. Until then, this is Shubham signing off, bye.

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