Me and management consultancies

(Or more correctly, management consultancies and I.)

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t make a particularly good consultant. I’m not talking medical consultant. I’m talking management consultant.

You see, while most large consultancies will likely have a “value” that focuses on the client, successful delivery, exceeding client expectations or some similar strapline that sits nicely on a poster, they also have other “values”. Now these other values may not be well advertised, or even publicised, but they’re there. And they are all about bringing the knowledge that you’ve garnered at the client site back to the proverbial mother ship—thought leadership, if you will. And maximising the value of each assignment—cross-selling, if you will.

And I was rubbish at these aspects. As a consultant, I focused relentlessly on making a project successful, delivering the scope, delivering beyond the scope, and generally trying to make the client happy. But I was rubbish at the thought leadership. I had little time for the consultancy-only team meetings. And I was the worst cross-seller in the business. (As someone once said of me, I’d be rubbish as a salesman—I’m too honest.)

Why? Because these aspects of the job got in the way of the client-focused delivery. If you are 100% committed to the success of a project, then arguably having targets to sell more of your own people into the project doesn’t align with this commitment. And taking a few hours a week to feed everything back to the consultancy is time that might be better spent in project delivery mode.

Consultancies have their place. They’re just not for me, that’s all.


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