Services

We provide a range of organisational development consulting and performance coaching services that can be tailored to your needs.


Consultancy

A consultancy is usually a short-term relationship that focuses on a specific requirement.   It provides an outside diagnosis and analysis of any situation where independent advice and opinion is important.  Even when you have internal specialists, an external consultant offers the independence that may be required by management or stake-holders.

Beware of consultants that only tell you what you want to hear.   The true value of an external expert is they should be neutral and have no agenda that inclines them towards one of your business goals.

We can: assist in defining the scope of a project, clarify objectives and goals, suggest why certain methodologies for exploring intelligence-gathering may be more or less effective and provide insights into what may facilitate or inhibit pursuing a particular course of action.

We are confident that we provide independent specialist knowledge and expertise that addresses your particular business need, as we see it.  We appreciate that knowledge is power and we’d rather you hear how it really is, so you know how to address a situation.


Contracting

A contracting relationship is usually longer term. One where advice is provided and where a unit of work, or the whole project, is undertaken often under direct supervision.    It enables a closer relationship with your people and allows for transference of skills to individuals and teams.  Costs are usually less than a consultancy as it is a longer term engagement.

Consultancy and contracting services can assist your business to grow as they each offer: an outside perspective and analysis; flexibility in period of engagement; specialised knowledge providing in-depth insights; and cost savings as no employee benefits, such as superannuation entitlements or tax payments, apply.


Ideas generation

Ideas generation can be a useful input either to an individual’s performance or that of a team.   Ideas for services, expanding strategic alliances, new business possibilities and even ways of navigating change can be enhanced with input from ‘outside eyes’.

We believe in the power of blending internal wisdom and the freshness of an external perspective to create the synergy for ideas proliferation.

[we provide workshops for] Ideas generation and [this] includes being a sounding board and serving as a contrarian to clarify choices or to mitigate risk.


Executive coaching and mentoring

Your people are your #1 priority for success. The value of coaching and mentoring are well established either as stand-alone processes or as complements to other learning and development techniques. Many leadership development courses include coaching and mentoring as standard because they are recognised as effective ways of translating the learning into the workplace environment. Their power lies in the one-on-one process as it focuses on an individual’s particular needs and so accelerates their learning and development.

Coaching and mentoring build current strengths and target specific areas to improve, such as: reluctance to delegate, hesitancy to mentor staff, poor interpersonal skills, ineffective decision-making, discomfort with conflict, procrastination, outcome negotiation, poor listening skills and emotionally laden conversations.

We blend coaching and mentoring styles to explore what it is that motivates us to perform and how this interacts with expectations, strategic business directions and workplace practices.  Daniel Pink in his paradigm-shifting book on motivation, Drive, describes our third drive as ‘our innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things and to do better by ourselves and our world’.  He refers to these three elements as:  autonomy, mastery and meaning.  Now, not all your people may be so motivated yet it is likely that most of your leaders are.

We inspire an individual’s goals, challenge their limitations and support them to cultivate their leadership mindset and behaviour.  Together we  explore and discover processes that increase self awareness, reveal blind spots, and uncover an individual’s natural resources and talents so they can learn new skills, accept self-responsibility and leverage their own and others’ performance.  In partnership, we guide individuals in creating their own performance improvement plan and implementation methods.


Leadership team coaching

Leadership teams benefit from coaching when implementing significant strategic initiatives or navigating organisational changes.  Appreciation of diverse personal and management styles and managing expectations for performance are necessary to achieve sustainable business outcomes.

We focus on team dynamics and stages of development, individual management styles, managing expectations, collaboration skills, effective communication and negotiating outcomes to increase department or organisation-wide performance.


Strategic Visioning

Where does your organisation or division wish to be in the future? What are opportunities and threats to success? How capable are your teams and systems to take you there? Who are the up-and-coming leaders in your organisation and what will excite them to stay? What might block attainment of your vision?  How well are your leaders inspiring the company’s vision to their staff?

We identify barriers and facilitators to moving from a current to a desired position, we elicit strategies for moving forward and we assist with succession planning. We explore views and values, both one-on-one and in groups, to progress the achievement of your organisation’s vision.


Role training and development

Understanding one’s own role and other’s expectations, is essential to sustaining effective performance. Unclear role definition leads to inappropriate behaviour and under-performance.  Conflict between workplace role requirements and how people perceive themselves will jeopardise achievement of goals. Peoples’ success in an organisation is a reflection of how effective they are in their roles and how skilful they are at relating to others’ roles.

We clarify role requirements, explore areas of confusion and duplication, identify expectations and train and develop a person to optimise performance in their specific roles.


Stakeholder engagement

Strong relationships with the people who influence your organisation are essential to sustain successful business performance. Your Board, strategic partners, key customers, key suppliers and target markets all have the power to significantly impact on your business operations.  Maintaining effective constructive stakeholder relationships via staying in touch with their views, opinions and needs, is a must.

We take the pulse of your key stakeholders using in-depth interviews, specifically designed to elicit what is important to you.  We design, discuss and agree on key areas of interest, we interview stakeholders and we feed back strengths, challenges and performance gaps.


Workshop facilitation 

The benefits of having an external facilitator are clear. External objectivity and lack of attachment to the corporate agenda, together with an understanding of business priorities, power bases and team dynamics, is necessary to achieve results. Workshops may focus on strategic or business planning, team cohesion, stakeholder priorities, organisational values and project completion.

We facilitate client-driven workshops that align with your business’s overall strategic direction.

Contact Strategic Management Solutions to discuss ways we can add value to your business >>

 

What are people saying?

From our previous clients


Executive Mentor

I have been working with Helen for the past 4 years. Over that time, I have been promoted 3 times. Each time I have been promoted Helen has been part of the reason for this. The mentoring and coaching that Helen has provided has helped me adjust my mindset to the new positions and achieve the results needed to deliver more than the required business outcomes and impress my bosses. From career planning, change acceleration, strategy and execution, we have discussed and worked through these and more. Most importantly for me, Helen has been a great sounding board outside of my company providing a different perspective on the possible path forwards.

Thank you, Helen, for all your patience, understanding, mentoring and coaching – it is much appreciated.

David Feast
Production Manager – Refinery Operations
Ma’Aden Aluminium
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (formerly at Alcoa, Wagerup Refinery, WA)


Strategic Planner

Helen helped to guide and inspire our team through a highly successful strategic planning process. Her thorough consultation and research into our context and needs, dynamic and engaging style, perceptiveness and insight resulted in a sophisticated process that met the needs of our organisation.

Eileen Kuruckchi
President
School Psychologists’ Association of WA


Achieving Effectiveness

Having known and worked with Helen Close for a number of years, I have seen her deliver on her targets time and time again. She is a strategic thinker who has that rare ability to communicate effectively and take people along with here. She is achievement oriented and a pleasure to work with.

Bill Cullen
Consultant, United Nations
Ex Director Strategy and Research, Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services


Facilitator, Executive Coach

Helen Close of Strategic Management Solutions is a continual source of inspiration and clarification for personal, professional and business goals and development. In the ever more competitive, complicated and demanding environment in which we live and work, Helen brings clarity and focus on priorities, plans and outcomes.

Helen’s methods are practical and sensitively incisive at cutting through behavioural patterns of self-denial and inner conflict. She is understanding and supportive of individual history and circumstances in life, challenging and inspirational with opportunities and goals and, with integrity and wisdom, always delivers insight and clarity about what really matters.

Nick Hilliard
Director
XCy Pty Ltd


Executive Coach

It has been great working with Helen, heaps better than any other coach I have been to before. Since one cannot divorce personal problems from professional life, the coaching has been largely on personal issues and how to keep them in control to achieve effectiveness at work. In the very first session some blinkers came off and light bulbs flashed. This led to more ideas generated in successive sessions, many of which were practical in nature and could be implemented right away.

Engineering Academic – Professor,
University of Western Australia


Read more testimonials >>

Consultant Style

I have known Helen for several decades and have seen her career develop and expand during that time. Helen is entrepreneurial rather than reactive in nature, forward looking and receptive to change. This is clearly demonstrated in her openness to different methods and new ideas, easily blending traditional deductive ways of thinking with creative inductive imagining.

She effectively engages with a variety of client and stakeholder types and is very much aware of the sensitivities involved in managing the needs of diverse groups. She has a wealth of business experience with a strong strategic perspective and critical thinking skills honed from her expertise in marketing, research and strategic planning.

She is committed to achieving results and demonstrates an ability to systematically manage projects, set plans, achieve goals, with an engaging, warm and friendly style. She has a passion for stimulating people’s potential and supporting their development.

I recommend her to all those requiring a fresh approach to problem solving, talent development or life enhancement.

Robert J Donovan, PhD.


Executive and Leadership Coach

I have had the benefit of being coached by Helen Close and I highly recommend her. Anyone can coach but few are visionary coaches!

I am a non-executive Director of GESB, a $11m Superannuation fund, and a director of small companies in the finance and insurance industry. Helen has a masterful approach to management and coaching and without her coaching my achievements would have been less.

Helen shows the way to visioning what you want and being the leader you can be, plus doing this with good work life balance. I wish I had availed myself of this service long ago. Everyone can use a coach. If you want to move to the next level I recommend Helen as your coach.

Derek Spray
Director


Facilitator

I really enjoyed the series of mini workshops and planning sessions in the Business Planning workshop you facilitated. They were well designed to explore the various themes of values, culture, social styles, service offered and marketing.

I felt your independent and balanced guidance successfully helped the group to better define the consultancy services offered to both internal and external clients and shape the business development and strategic marketing directions for the year ahead. Once again – thank you. I will definitely recommend your services to others seeking your skills.

Honi Adolphson
Senior Sustainability Consultant


Mentor

Helen was able to facilitate me to identify my strategic vision for myself and my business. She continually tested this vision and challenged me to keep to my vision when I was identifying what are Workshop Consultancy services and what I choose to take on. Helen takes a holistic approach with a focus on me as a person as well as an owner of my business. She asked deep questions that made me really think and constructively challenged me in a empathetic and supportive manner. I would definitely recommend her to anyone seeking clarity in direction.

Fiona Perrella
Director, Workshop Consultancy


Executive and Leadership Coach

I highly recommend Helen Close as a coach. She helped me to uncover and understand the reasons underlying the professional issues for which I approached her. I have noticed a significant improvement in my professional as well as my personal life.

Post-doctoral Researcher,
University of Western Australia


Research and Consultancy Style

Helen’s pioneering research on an audience research guide for the arts community helped the Australia Council set in train its raft of original audience development strategies upon the formation of the inaugural Audience Development and Advocacy Division. From the Council’s perspective, working with Helen during this time was extremely reassuring, with her approach and style enormously beneficial given the complexity and potential volatility involved in the task.

Her finely honed research skills combined with acute conceptual and interpretation abilities and an underlying ability to communicate brilliantly with a diverse range of individuals ensured a successful outcome for all concerned. This was an enormous job and one, which required a high degree of sensitivity, clarity and dedication. Helen delivered in spades, producing work of an extraordinarily high calibre, always on time, always in full and it was always an enormous pleasure to work with her. Today, as a consultant to the arts community, I firmly believe the combination of Helen’s razor sharp research and interpretive skills and her uniquely intuitive personal style will be an real gift for any organisation lucky enough to benefit from her work.

Krissie Scudds
Principal, Krissie Scudds & Associates
Project Manager, Australia Council (National Audience Development), 1996-2008


Mentor and Coach

I felt it important to obtain guidance on my skills as a Manager now and going forward and chose Helen Close as a mentor and coach. Not only is Helen a successful businesswoman, she is very personable and also has a great love of the arts, which for me was a great advantage.

When Helen and I met we quickly developed a great rapport but also established the boundaries of our relationship, which has been based on mutual trust and respect. I found Helen open and easy to talk to and in our sessions we covered everything from relationships at work to personal and skills development. It also provided me with the opportunity to think about career options and progress.

Helen has helped me to believe in myself and as a result this has boosted my confidence. At times she has challenged me, while providing the right guidance and encouragement to look more closely at myself, my issues, opportunities and what I want in life. The whole process has helped me to become more self aware and take responsibility for my life and its direction, rather than just leaving it to chance.

Part of this process has been my participation in the Life Styles Inventory
programme, which is designed to promote constructive and transformational change. While challenging, for me the results of the LSI have shown me that the mentoring I received from Helen has helped to develop myself and my skills since participating in an AIMWA New Manager course, and I continue to develop.

I would recommend Helen Close as a mentor and as a coach to anyone interested in developing themselves and their career.

L. Rice
Operations Manager


Consultancy Style

With my involvement in the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics (CILTA), I have used the services of Strategic Management Solutions (in particular Helen Close) over the past eleven years. During this time, I have found Helen to be extremely helpful and professional. She demonstrates extremely high levels of confidentiality that is very important when companies are providing client details when entering industry awards.

We have experienced times when our Awards have required a lift in profile in order to attract nominations. Helen has taken a very proactive approach to understanding the likes and dislikes of past nominees. This information resulted in an increase in nominations and a greater level of contentment.

Graham Wills
Vice Chairman 2009, Committee Member 14 years,
CILTA (WA Section)


Mentor

Helen’s guidance over the last four months has been invaluable in framing my transition from one high performing team to take on a competitive promotion within the same organisation, in ensuring a well-considered succession plan and a with a strong focus on maximising my own professional and personal development through the process.

Helen’s holistic, values-based approach and emphasis on the interpersonal, has guided me to embrace my strengths and identify areas for further development through important changes in my career and personal life, ensuring I could confidently “lean in” through future pacing and planning. As a result, I feel well prepared to enter this new stage.

I would highly recommend Helen’s services to others.

Amanda
Australian Public Service (WA)


Executive Coach

Thank you so much for such transformational coaching and NLP. I was so impressed with your ability to move me between events to achieve such an internal shift around the issue I presented. As a practitioner myself I valued your ease in using the various methods seamlessly to achieve the most distilled results in a very short space of time.

I can certainly recommend you highly to anyone who requires to shift limiting beliefs, blocks and anxieties about issues that have so far been unable to shift. You are a true master with a wonderful rapport and ability to read and perceive where the client is at.

F. Martin
Coach


Consultancy Style

I have known and worked with Helen over the past 15 hears on a variety of projects and have found her to be highly professional and effective, always delivering quality results.

She has a keen strategic perspective, a good understanding of whole-of-business operations and utilises intelligent research design, implementation and analysis in all her work. She is able to challenge the status quo in a professional way in the interests of improved people and business performance.

Helen is a very personable and approachable person who understands confidentiality relative to all projects delivered. She has a considerable amount of experience in the fields of research and business analysis particularly relative to strategic thinking and the development of people.

Other traits that I have appreciated are her total honesty, integrity, vitality, openness and respect for all. She has the ability to relate to people at all levels in the organisation particularly on the work done relative to executive coaching and succession planning.

Helen’s work with our business has involved projects that have included consulting on management and leadership development; executive coaching; visioning the future including succession planning. She has also conducted professional detailed market research for us on customer demands and run on-going staff surveys relative to employee sentiments in the work place.

We have an ongoing and long term professional relationship with Helen and her business and can highly recommend her to any potential clients seeking assistance in the above mentioned fields.

Alan Bray
State Manager WA
Australian Transit Enterprises Pty Ltd

Why choose us?

 

1. We know it is leaders not consultants who change organisations

Your business will thrive when your leaders inspire their staff and are willing to align their performance and commitment with business strategy. As consultants we challenge, inspire and support leaders to be effective. It is your leaders who will sustain business performance long after we are gone.

2. We possess in-depth understanding of the business environment

We navigate through the complex dynamics operating within the corporate environment. We understand the conflicts between the perspectives and concerns of business owners, management, shareholders, employees, consumers, consultants and interest groups. We highlight areas of potential sabotage as well as opportunity in your business environment.

3. We customise our approach to your needs

Our consultancy work is specifically designed to address your unique business needs. Together we determine and clarify your desired outcomes to ensure our services advance your business goals. We monitor progress and evaluate impact on leadership development, stakeholder and employee satisfaction, internal systems and financial results.

4. We collaborate with you from the start

We partner with you to maximize your growth. You bring skills, needs, intentions and expectations to the consultancy. We identify and refocus self-imposed limitations, we support growth in self-awareness, we strengthen your talents, enhance your interpersonal skills and sharpen your decision-making effectiveness. We encourage identification of impediments and removal at their inception, rather than using major effort later.

5. We blend the pragmatic with the possible

Our pragmatic approach to developing people and delivering results comes from a strong base in consumer and social research, marketing, strategic planning and good old business sense. We combine this with a perceptive understanding of people’s desires to learn, grow, have a voice, express their creativity and feel empowered. Our blend is used collaboratively with you to focus attention, identify opportunities, enable creative problem solving, empower action and facilitate change.

6.  We recognise that organisational cultures need review

We explore with you which formal and informal practices remain functional and what new cultural paradigms will enable your organisation to grow.  We review your diversity practices, your inclusivity mindset and your tolerance for harassment within your organisation.  Differences bring tensions and may lead to bullying.   Differences have high costs for your organisation’s morale, engagement, absenteeism, staff turnover and systems use; essentially your productivity.  Differences also bring richness, strength and robustness through expanded learning, enhanced creativity and a broader worldview.

Your leaders set the cultural climate for inclusivity in your workplace.  They role model it via their zero tolerance for harassment and their flexible work practices.   As Elon Musk says, ‘Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”

7.  We do what works

We believe in the power of mindset, the importance of mindfulness, neuroplasticity and thinking outside the box.  To develop leaders we use a blend of creative and scientific tools to achieve their desired outcomes. These include: the LSI and Social Styles performance profiling tools, neuroscience and neuroplasticity,  visualization, future manifestation, neurolinguistic programming, somatic methods, and lateral thinking. Find out more about our tools and processes here>>

Contact Strategic Management Solutions to discuss ways we can add value to your business >>

Are you ready to grow?

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.

Goethe


Signs you are ready to grow:

 

1. Your organisation is in need of a clear vision.

How clear is your organisation’s future direction – to you?  To others?

Perhaps you’ve had a change in senior leadership recently. You believe your organisation can perform better. Your people seem a little confused as to what your organisation is aiming for.

Where does your organisation want to be in the future?  This is the critical ‘what’, the vision, for your organisation.  Is the vision simply a sentence in a strategic plan or is it in your people’s hearts and minds?

Your organisation needs a clear vision to retain a strong purpose and to grow.  Your people need to know the vision and to embrace it to optimise their performance.  It needs to be inspiring and so does your leaders’ communication of it.

Where does your organisation need to grow in relation to your vision?

Strategic visioning can assist you to identify where you want to be in the future and how you might get there. Checking in on stakeholders’ understanding, expectations and engagement will provide insights into how well your vision is contributing to your organisation’s success. Your leaders’ communication, interpersonal, conflict management and resilience skills are essential to enabling achievement of the vision.

2. Your people are ready to step into higher level leadership skills.

You know some of your people are ripe for the next level of leadership.  You’ve heard of individuals’ aspirations for promotion.   Or at least, for more responsibility and opportunities for skills development.  You need some of your leaders to have a fresh view of their responsibility area.

How do you develop your aspiring leaders?  What do your leaders require to step up?  How do your senior leaders stay refreshed?  What are gaps in their skill set?  How effective are your leaders’ interpersonal skills? What role does learning really have in your organisation? Does your organisation have a development culture?

Sure, self-paced learning via on-line courses, books, TED talks and the like are valuable.  The question is: as they are climbing up the ladder of greater knowledge via these methods, is the ladder up against the right wall?

Self-awareness, role clarity and mutual understanding of expectations are critical for high-level performance.  The value of coaching and mentoring is that each individual’s style, skills, habits, beliefs and motivations are identified to enable a focus on the most effective areas to direct attention.  A blend of internal and external resources in tandem, works well.  Management and leadership style diagnostic models assist in identifying skill gaps.  Self-assessment and 360oinventories shine a light on strengths and behavioural areas to build or decrease.

3. Your internal culture needs to adapt to changes.

There is a wave of uncertainty sweeping through the organisation.  Is your marketplace changing?  Do you need to adapt your products or services to changing needs or price fluctuations?  Has there been a change of leadership recently?  Are you downsizing?   Upsizing?  Is new technology is being introduced? Long term jobs being impacted?

Change is constant and often fast. Preparing for and implementing change usually lags behind and at significant cost to the organisation’s internal culture and bottom line.  How ready for a change is your organisation?  How do you maintain engagement and commitment through turbulent times?

‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ – a great line by Marshall Goldsmith, named the world’s #1 thinker on leadership at the 2011 Thinkers50 Conference.

What do you have in place to maximise the effectiveness of transitioning through your organisational and individual changes?  What is needed to navigate change smoothly?

We assist in leading you through your organisation’s changes by finding out what is required, exploring options for effective change transition, advising on readiness of your people, understanding the people dynamics within and between work units and identifying appropriate systems and process and reporting mechanisms for implementing the change.

4. Your leadership team is ready for innovative problem-solving.

Teams and individuals all reach a point of needing a fresh perspective.  This may be to challenge their existing ideas, mental models and conventional wisdom to determine feasibility and robustness and to generate new ideas collaboratively.

To survive and prosper in the ever changing, increasingly complex social and business environment that we experience today, Richard Hames in his book The Five Literacies of Leadership, claims that capability building must look outside the enterprise to the business ecosystem.  He claims that conventional strategic planning is dead and that navigation and imagination become the critical values from which value is extracted.

Ideas generation for innovative problem solving is about utilising imagination as input to weaving the present with the past and the future into what he calls an ‘expanded now’ of higher awareness.

5. You require professional development for your career path.

Wondering where you will be in the organisation in the next 1, 2, 5 years?  Where do you want to be?  Is there a match between your and the organisation’s values?   Are there career paths for your people?  Its there a current succession plan for your organisation?

Most of us operate best when there is homeostasis in our world.  Change of any kind, disrupts this, at least temporarily.  Sure, some of us enjoy challenges.   Some of us operate very well with rushes of adrenalin.  These usually have benefits in the short term. Long term, they often result in distress rather than eustress.

Pursuing a career path in volatile environments, in tough economic times when organisations are becoming lean, when the vision and strategic direction are unclear, requires information, honesty about yourself, option identification, encouragement and often times the ‘right break’.

We assist in bringing clarity to what are your work preferences and where you’d like to be in the future – both foundational to forging your path. Understanding your values and risk profiles provide further valuable insights.  External input into identifying these is valuable.  This perspective is also beneficial in determining role clarity, values alignment and the necessary skills for your desired job.

Contact Strategic Management Solutions to discuss ways we can add value to your business >>