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Joe Marchese

The best consultants act as catalysts to enable something to happen that could have happened without them, but didn't. The report, deck, whatever other deliverables, are most valuable when they serve to enable action toward the agreed goals. Absent that, they are interesting but not significant.

Ilya Zabegaev

Carol Murchie wrote: "It would be preferable if there were some reasonable way of holding consultants accountable."

Actually, there is such way. Push your consultants work for a "success-based fee" approach. Identify for the consultants clear objectives in terms of financial or operational results for a long period of time (more than 6 months). But don't use any type of "beauty KPIs" (in terms of "I like you").

Carol Murchie

Re: Nathan's commentary, I really don't think of consultants as the ones who can be held fully accountable for results, especially in the management consulting field. The consultant can introduce excellent ideas but the company has to follow through.

My maxim is that really top notch management consulting is like top notch dog training: a good dog trainer isn't one who claims he or she will 'fix' your dog, but the one who will show you how to elicit that best behavior from your dog but ultimately it is up to you to learn what those best practices are and be attuned to what works and what doesn't. You can't hold the dog trainer accountable if what they demonstrated to you works but you stop using the methodology.

Nathan

A colleague once said that the purpose of consultants is to prolong the problem. Like so many quips, there is an element of truth there.

Consultants can be a valuable tool. As is the case with any tool, they need to be used well. If the tool is not functioning (well), then you get rid of it. If the tool is not needed, you store it away. When needed, it needs to be ready to do the job.

I've had some tremendously productive interactions with consultants. The key is being prepared, especially with questions. Be wary of a consultant who tells you want you want to hear.

It would be preferable if there were some reasonable way of holding consultants accountable.

Carol Murchie

Well, as a former nonprofit "CFO" I can say the more information you give a board on the finances, the more likely you send them into a state of inertia because you make the false assumption that they have the critical thinking to pick through the detail and see the key trends. You have to draw pictures for them. Perhaps Management Consulting should go for graphic novel mode instead of textual details and tons of data.

Randy Bosch

There was certainly quite a few feet of "great work" in those reports, and (sadly) probably most of it "received and filed" by the commissioning "leaders".

Today's leaders often "listen" no better today to "new media" reports than they "listened" to paper in the past - but they've got the "buzz words" down pat!

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