Working with Kiah

We need people who can think and do, with the drive to make a difference. If this sounds like you, get in touch. Who knows where that adventure will lead, for both of us.

Here are some insights on what we are looking for and how to prepare your application.

Frequently asked questions

What does a management consultant do?

This a question often asked, and hard to answer because it is so broad. Google isn’t much help either.

In the most generalist definition – a management consultant helps organisations improve their efficiency.

We see  the market with four distinct categories:

  • Strategy: Answering the big questions. What business should the organisation be in, what is an appropriate policy framework, and how does the organisation reduce costs or increase revenue?  A lot of analysis and problem-solving. Best known are MckInsey and BCG in the public sector space, though there are others. Unfortunately, strategies can be great in theory but sometimes impractical to execute. A strategy does not always solve a problem and often the strategies are a pathway but are not executable.
  • Consulting Solutions Integrators – characterised by IP,  methodologies, structure and scale. To name a few – Accenture, IBM, and Fujitsu fall most easily into this category.  But so do the Big 4 (PWC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY) because there is a lot of money to be made. Process and scale are important – but it’s hard to be an advisor on what to do if you then set yourself up to do it.  These companies take work off the client and do it for them.
  • Consulting Services: These companies deliver IP and know-how, delivered by talented people, quality and service assurance. They should be working alongside the client, making difference and leaving a legacy of self-sufficiency.  We don’t believe there are many in this category – Kiah is!
  • Contracted support – This is probably the largest category as it is the easiest to establish. A lot of entrants, and they make a lot of money. Essentially they provide people to work for the client. Not a lot of investment in their people or a lot of value add to the client – other than they carry a workload.

I’m in the military — I’m worried about the transition.

It can be a daunting time – and there is a lot to learn.  But a lot of us have done it successfully.

There is much that military service brings to the business – above all a focus on then mission, getting the job done. Adaptability, clear thinking, problem solving, resilience.

You will be moving on from an organisation to which you “belonged”. A community tighter than few others, a team on whom you know you can rely. It is a lifestyle like no other and, in my experience, it is unmatched in operational units.

But you will also be leaving behind a bureaucracy, a structured existence, a controlled hierarchy and limited ability to extend yourself except within the expectations of your rank and experience. Many of us in the military were fulfilled by our contribution to something greater than ourselves. I don’t think that goes away, and for me, it was one of the reasons for starting Kiah – I wanted to work for purpose, not just a bottom line.  I do not find that work fulfilling.  Hence our focus is on the better delivery of public services.

The most significant personal change is that you will now be responsible for yourself. You will need to make choices from which dentist to which job. Your success will be entirely dependent on your ability. Equally, if you make a mistake it is much easier to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and have another go.

That includes your next job. You are not making a career or life choice. You are choosing the next step.

I like to think, at Kiah, we carry many of the positive attributes of the military: leadership, development, positive teamwork, and a focus on outcomes.

I’m a public servant — can I be a consultant?

The simple answer is, of course. we have many who have moved from public service to consulting. We also have many who have moved from business and the military to consulting. Only a few companies, mostly the big ones, seek to bring graduates into their business and develop them into consultants.  That approach has the advantage of controlling how they develop. It has the weakness of developing them in the same mould.

Transitioning people from other careers provides us with diversity of experience and thought. Given our focus on supporting the delivery of better public servants, the knowledge of people coming from the public service is invaluable.

But we are not the public service and you will face change. You will have more autonomy, expectations of quality and performance will be higher, and you will have as much responsibility as you can carry. You will be expected to lead, not follow, both within your team and with your client.  There will be a much higher focus on delivery, and timeframes are less negotiable. You will most likely know this already, as you have probably witnessed that the level of tolerance by the public service client for a consultant is much less than they have for their own people. You will no longer be on that side of the fence.

You will need to learn and our expectation is that you will largely develop yourself. However, we also invest in you through a comprehensive development program that provided insight in and tools for you to use as a  consultant – alongside the domain expertise you have developed thus far in your career.

What am I worth?

My usual answer is “about half of what you think”. It’s one of my jokes that no one laughs at.

The truth is, you are probably worth about what you are being paid – in or out of the public sector.  Most candidates have found a level commensurate with their experience and qualifications. You should get a bump for moving, but I suggest you don’t expect a huge leap. We are aware that, in a competitive market, there are offers of enticing salaries for people to join companies.  We don’t buy people! It’s transactional and generates the wrong culture, and sets the candidate up to fail.  The higher your salary the higher the expectations for performance and, frankly, the ability to develop business. If you don’t have the experience, then you set a target for yourself that you may not be able to achieve.

What you do have is unlimited potential to grow and no time constraints. Prove yourself through your actions and you will be rewarded.  If you are at the wrong level your salary will be adjusted, or a bonus provided if it was a “one-off” event. Remember – salary is a measure of expectation as well as reward.

From our side, if you are at the wrong level you will be unhappy. That is our incentive to be reasonable.

We will have an open and frank discussion with you during the interview process about expectations and levels. We have suggested to some that their expectation is too high, and for others, we have suggested they haven’t valued themselves enough. we don’t think money should be your driver, but it is certainly an important factor and I like to think the conversation is mutually respectful – no one seeks to “win”, and no one loses.

We are looking for the Goldilocks point – not too hot, not too cold, just right.

What will my first weeks look like?

The only day we can really commit to with any certainty is Day 1. You will come to the office, be administratively inducted, get your IT working, meet the team, probably be asked to join them for lunch and take a few hours to get settled.

After that it depends. You might be assigned to an engagement – our preferred approach. It gets you working with a team and not sitting in the office.  For some, though, you might spend a week or two in the office pending the start of an assignment that suits your skills and experience. Your time will not be wasted though – plenty of reading, and tenders and we do try to “loan” you to an engagement so that you get some experience.

In your first weeks, you will participate in an online, 3-module, induction program, in a cohort of new starters. This program is designed to expose you to the way we work, our philosophies and our values – as well as give you some immediate consulting tools. You will probably be scheduled for lunch or dinner with the MD, alongside some others.

Within six months you will have participated in an offsite Delivery and Business Leaders program (DABL 1). It’s run from a Thursday night to a Saturday afternoon, usually in Bowral. It is exhausting, fun, experiential and educational.  You will be exposed to, and practice, individual consulting tools and techniques. You will also be exposed to how the business operates, how we cost proposals, and how we make more than we cost. The more you know the safer we are.

In the following six months, you will most likely attend a second Delivery and Business Leaders program (DABL 2). This is focussed on how to lead an engagement and a team, quality management and business growth.

Along the way you will attend a Kiah@Home session most months- a social gathering of all consultants, including interstaters if we can, mixed with some briefings and usually some training or activity to enhance you as a consultant. You will also be invited to consultant development sessions on various topics throughout the year. These are an opportunity for us to invest in you, and you in yourself

How do I get a pay rise or promotion?

It does sound simple and maybe a bit short – but it is simple. You have to add more value than you are being paid.  Firstly we are unusual in that we don’t have job descriptions with a structure chart. There are not really promotions the way you see in many companies: junior consultant, consultant, senior consultant, manager, director and so on. Except for a few, for marketing reasons, we don’t even have titles on business cards.

We do have roles that you may fill: consultant, delivery lead, and engagement lead.  You can move between roles and some of us fill more than one role on the same day! A few are titled as Directors, but that reflects their corporate delegations rather than their consulting roles. al of this is explained in detail in our Induction and Delivery and Business Leaders programs. In essence, the greater your responsibility and contribution, the greater your salary. The greater your salary the higher the expectation.

A formal salary review is held annually (end of the financial year). Your contribution is considered and your salary is adjusted accordingly.  If there is a significant change in your role during the year and there is a mismatch of salary to expectation – we will adjust your salary at that time.

We also operate a Performance and Profit Review at the end of the financial year, where extraordinary effort or contribution is recognised outside of your salary expectations.

What our employees have to say about Kiah...