I often get asked the question: “If you were still with a consulting firm today, how would you use ChatGPT?” It’s a fascinating question, and I believe the answer lies in five key areas of consulting:
- Define the problem
- Disaggregate the problem
- Prioritize the issues
- Analyze data rigorously
- Synthesize Findings
Let’s dive deeper into these areas and consider how an AI tool like ChatGPT can be a powerful assistant in executing your consulting activities and deliverables.
I. Defining the Problem: The Power of Intelligent Querying with ChatGPT
In the real world, we often find ourselves asking questions like “What should I do?” or “What should I consider?” When defining a problem, the ability to connect the dots is a core feature of intelligence that can help us ask better questions and define problems more accurately. This is where ChatGPT shines.
For instance, if you’re curious as to what is the impact of AI on the discovery of new pharmaceutical drugs (i.e., Impact of X on Y) or what might be the relationship between new management structure and recent employee turnover (i.e., relationship between X and Y), ChatGPT can help you explore these connections. It can also assist in identifying potential causes for sudden changes in your business, like a dip in foot traffic for your shoe store. With ChatGPT, you can expect more high-quality thinking, critical reasoning, and speed in problem definition.
“My shoe selling business has suddenly seen a dip in retail store foot traffic around the world in a span of 6-8 months. Nothing else has changed such as price, product-quality or new competitors. What might be going on?”
Again, when you’re trying to define your problem statement, having the ability to connect the dots (core feature of intelligence) can help you ask better questions and define questions in a more nuanced way.
II. Disaggregating the Problem: Leveraging ChatGPT for MECE Problem Breakdown
ChatGPT can also help in breaking down the problem using the MECE principle (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive). MECE is often a key consultant tool for breaking down a problem and potential resolutions to ensure all considerations are factored into the decision making. For example, if you’re a cable TV provider considering exiting the business due to tough competition from OTT providers, ChatGPT can help you evaluate the factors to consider in a MECE way.
First, ChatGPT can help you define the factors to consider:
“Here is the situation: You’re in business as a cable TV provider and battling with tough competition from OTT providers. How will you evaluate whether to exit the cable tv business entirely? What factors will you consider?”
After receiving the list, you can refine the results by asking:
“Is this MECE?” OR “How would you make this list strictly MECE?”
If you already have your own list of factors to consider, you can ask ChatGPT:
“Here is my list. Is this MECE or not?”
Moreover, ChatGPT can assist in forming a Day 1 Hypothesis, which is your initial best guess at what the answer should be:
“What would be your Day 1 Hypothesis?”
This disaggregation of the problem allows for a more focused and efficient approach to problem-solving.
III. Prioritizing the Issues: The Art of Making the Right Choices
The ability to prioritize issues is arguably the most important skill of a consultant. It’s not just about knowing what to do but understanding what matters most and determine where it is best to invest time and energy for maximum impact.
ChatGPT can be a game-changer in this regard as it can help you understand the relative importance of things. It can also help you apply powerful principles and strategies to prioritize issues effectively.
This is where concepts like the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, come into play where 80% of the result is driven by 20% of the effort. This principle can be applied to almost any situation, from business strategies to personal productivity. ChatGPT can help you identify that crucial 20% effort that will drive 80% of your results, helping you focus on what truly matters.
Matrix thinking is another powerful tool for prioritizing issues. It involves breaking down items or issues into quadrants based on their impact and your control over them. For instance, in the case of a Cable TV provider considering a business pivot, ChatGPT can help you organize company data into a 2×2 matrix (high/low control, high/low impact) to prioritize factors that matter:
“For the Cable TV case, how might your organize the company data (in a 2×2 matrix) to help prioritize factors that matter? Can you show a visual?”
For a matrix with different factors to consider: “Are there alternate ways to think about this?”
This approach allows you to visualize the issues at hand and understand where your efforts would be most impactful. It also provides alternative ways to think about the problem, offering a broader perspective and facilitating better decision-making.
IV. Analyzing Data Rigorously: The Power of Data-Driven Insights
In the realm of consultancy, rigorous analysis is the backbone of decision-making. It’s about collecting data, dissecting it, and using the insights to inform further analysis. With the advent of AI tools like ChatGPT, this process has become more efficient and insightful.
ChatGPT, with the help of plugins like code interpreter, can perform descriptive analysis and visualization to help you understand complex data. For instance, if we focus on a pricing strategy, which falls under high control/high impact quadrant, ChatGPT can help you visualize and understand the data related to it. It can also run regression analyses to look for patterns and run diagnostics to ensure the accuracy of these patterns.
“Can you do visualization and descriptive analysis to help me understand the data?”
“Can you try regressions and look for patterns?”
“Can you run regression diagnostics?”
Sensitivity analysis is a technique used to determine how different values of an independent variable impact a particular dependent variable. It’s about understanding the “what if” scenarios. ChatGPT can handle sensitivity analysis, highlighting its adaptability and resourcefulness in managing unexpected data-related challenges.
This rigorous analysis allows us to understand not just the current state of affairs but also how different changes can impact the outcomes. It’s about being prepared and making informed decisions. and even handle sensitivity analysis. This adaptability in handling unexpected data-related challenges is a game-changer.
V. Synthesizing Findings: The Art of Effective Communication
After all the rigorous analysis and problem-solving, the final step is to communicate your findings effectively. This is where the art of synthesizing findings comes into play. It’s about presenting your insights in a clear, concise, and compelling manner that drives action.
ChatGPT can be a powerful ally in this process, helping you apply effective communication strategies such as Top-Down communication and the Pyramid Principle.
Top-down communication is all about getting to the point and answering the question first instead of initially giving the background story to your response and then answering the question. It’s about stating the main point first, then followed by supporting data points or reasons. This approach is particularly effective for executive communication, where time is of the essence and the audience needs to grasp the main message quickly.
ChatGPT can help you craft such communications, ensuring that your main message is clear and impactful.
Developed by Barbara Minto, the Pyramid Principle is a communication technique that structures messages in a hierarchical way. The main message forms the tip of the pyramid, followed by supporting messages that build up the main point.
ChatGPT can help you apply this principle to your communications, ensuring that your messages are structured, logical, and persuasive.
“How would you communicate the findings of this work to a CEO in a top-down way?”
This can help you create a comprehensive report that includes an executive summary, background, key findings, implications, recommendations, and next steps. It can even help you craft an elevator pitch for when you have 60 seconds to present your findings to the CEO!
“Help me write an elevator pitch on this.”
Synthesizing findings is a critical aspect of consultancy, and AI tools like ChatGPT are revolutionizing how we approach it. By enabling us to communicate our insights effectively, these tools are helping us drive action and make a real impact. As we continue to leverage these tools, I’m excited to see how they will shape the future of consultancy.
Embracing the Future of Consultancy with AI
As you navigate the complexities of the consultancy landscape, it’s clear that AI tools like ChatGPT are not just useful, but transformative. They are reshaping how you can define problems, disaggregate complex issues, prioritize critical factors, perform rigorous analysis, and synthesize findings.
These tools are not about replacing human consultants but enhancing your capabilities. They enable you to ask better questions, make more informed decisions, and communicate your insights more effectively. They augment your intelligence, allowing you to focus on what you do best: providing strategic guidance and driving impactful changes.
Moreover, these AI tools democratize consultancy. They make high-quality thinking, critical reasoning, and data-driven insights accessible to everyone, not just large corporations with deep pockets. This democratization has the potential to level the playing field and drive innovation across all sectors.
But perhaps most importantly, these tools remind us of the power of human-AI collaboration. They show us that when we combine human creativity and intuition with AI’s computational power and efficiency, we can solve problems in ways we never thought possible.
As you continue to explore the potential of AI in consultancy, I’m excited for you and the possibilities. I believe you’re just scratching the surface of what you can achieve, and I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you. So, embrace these tools, harness their power, and shape the future of consultancy!
I hope you liked this article and feel free to follow me for more insights on emerging technologies and their potential impact on modern business.