High Value

Outstanding Outcomes

Multiply the value of every project your organization takes on by commanding a higher Return on Expertise. Whether you are using an internal team to tackle your big initiative, an outside expert or some combination, you can double or triple (or more) the risk-adjusted value.


  • Bigger returns from your portfolio of important initiatives
  • Faster business results, with fewer missteps and less frustration
  • More confidence in your projects, teams and expectations
  • Greater individual creativity and organization-wide innovation
  • Improved Return on Expertise
  • More meaningful teamwork and higher levels of goal-focused collaboration
  • Project disasters are averted before they ever occur

How it Works

Depending on whether we are helping you with an internal team, an external team and whether or not you have already started the project, we may incorporate any of the following:

  • Estimate the true, risk-adjusted value of your project. You can only maximize your return on expertise if you’re working on a valuable project! Sometimes a high-priority project isn’t as meaningful as you expected – and sometimes it is much more so. In this step we help you:
    • Evaluate your project against the 37 most common value creation areas
    • Correct for egocentricity biases at the project level
    • Correct for system-wide effects
    • Correct for likelihood of success
  • Evaluate the need for outside help— We’ve found that consultants are sometimes brought in when a perfectly satisfactory solution is available in house. If you don’t need an outside expert at all, we’ll tell you so, and if you do need an outside expert, we’ll help you understand exactly why and where. In this step we help you:
    • Review the thirteen considerations on competency, experience and perspective
    • Examine long- and short-term capacity
    • Assess sufficiency, focus, intellectual property and efficiency
  • Articulate your project context — The six parts of a project’s context are the most important requirement for finding the right consultant and building the best contract. You will experience a big “aha!” moment on this step. In this step we help you:
    • Briefly summarize the situation
    • Craft powerful outcome statements with precision, overall goal and results
    • Develop indicators of success that meet the CRAVE criteria
    • State your primary risks and concerns
    • Identify time, people and financial parameters
  • Find and select the perfect outside expert — If we determine an outside expert should be part of the team, we’ll find the right one for you. Finding breakthrough thinking, best-in-class processes and flawless execution is easier said than done. There are almost 500,000 consulting firms in the United States that want to provide their expert advice to you. It’s very possible we have already found the perfect consultant for you during our years of vetting thousands of consultants. If not, we will do a search on your behalf. In this step we help you:
    • Determine which type of consultant you need
    • Brainstorm the five types of expertise which could deliver results beyond your expectations
    • Overtly balance the triangle of trade-offs
    • Characterize, in advance, what the right consultant will look like
    • Conduct a comprehensive search to find best-in-class and/or breakthrough thinkers
    • Vet all candidates and review the likelihood of success
    • Craft a compelling presentation of the chosen expert for review by your senior management or Board of Directors
  • Assess and define project risk — The single area where we have added the most breakthrough thinking in the field of consulting is in risk management on projects. Some projects rest on faulty assumptions at the outset. Others face a shifting landscape, changing priorities or unexpected costs. No matter what the project, there are risks, many of which are well hidden. The last thing you want on your hands is an expensive disaster. In this step we help you:
    • Calculate risk-adjusted value and risk-adjusted cost
    • Review the twenty most common sources of project risk
    • Identify the sources of risk
    • Put measures and actions in place that reduce and/or prevent risks
    • Institute activities which ameliorate the impact if anything goes wrong
  • Reallocate project risk through win-win trades — If you are using an outside expert, we will help you employ the very sophisticated and creative approach we pioneered for improving the value of projects through risk reallocation. This has proven to be an extremely powerful method for increasing your return on important initiatives. In this step we help you:
    • Utilize the 14 contract tuning keys to optimize your project
    • Develop risk allocation options and bundles
    • Design a sophisticated trading space for negotiation with consultants
    • Lead negotiation or renegotiation with your consultant and lock in an optimal contracts
  • Lock in a better deal with the best contract structure — How much should you pay your consultant? On what basis? When should you pay them? Are flat fees best? What about success fees? In this step we help you:
    • Identify the best contract structure for your type of project based on boundedness and leeway
    • Determine the acceptable ceiling on fees and expenses for an outside expert
    • Weigh the pros and cons of a “skin in the game” or success-fee arrangement
    • Establish the appropriate payment timelines
  • Prepare your company for success — The best doctor in the world can’t help you if your body rejects the cure, which is what happens in many organizations. Before you hand over the keys to your internal team or outside expert, it’s important to How much should you pay your consultant? On what basis? When should you pay them? Are flat fees best? What about success fees? In this step we help you:
    • Create the appropriate levels of engagement and buy-in across your organization
    • Prepare for project risks
    • Ensure the right resources are at the ready
    • Put guidance mechanisms in place that will facilitate an outstanding outcome
  • Run a great project — We will equip you with the tools, techniques and approaches necessary to keep your project on the fast track to success. If your project involves an outside expert we will also play an oversight role, particularly in the delivery and communication of findings, plans, recommendations and solutions. In this step we help you:
    • Evaluate, track and fine-tune the strength of your project team
    • Ensure you are maintaining the proper level of inclusion
    • Sustain management support for your initiative
    • Incorporate the best approach for long term success
    • Manage changes with the minimum disruption and maximum results
    • Install early warning systems to spot the 10 most common causes of project failure
  • Lock in value for the long run — By some estimates, more than 70 percent of corporate training has no long-term effect. Do you want your project’s expensive deliverables to gather dust on a shelf or to permanently transform your company? While many experts in change management can create an excellent change plan, sustaining behavior change for months and years after the project concludes is a rare talent. In this step we help you:
    • Firmly establish what behavior changes are reasonable and expected
    • Implement the CUBES approach to long-term change
    • Install reasonable and appropriate timelines

You deserve an outstanding outcome on every project and initiative your company tackles – whether it’s your internal team or an outside expert leading the charge. Experience the difference our breakthrough approaches to projects will make on your company’s bottom line and your personal job satisfaction. Call the Ascendant Consortium today: 203-438-7236 or email info@ascendantconsortium.com for more information.

Email: david@ascendantconsortium.com
P.O. Box 341, Ridgefield, CT 06877