Each year management consultants in the United States receive more than $2 billion for their services.1 Much of this money pays for impractical data and poorly implemented recommendations.2 To reduce this waste, clients need a better understanding of what consulting assignments can accomplish. They need to ask more from such advisers, who in turn must learn to satisfy expanded expectations.
It also stems from my experience supervising beginning consultants and from the many conversations and associations I’ve had with consultants and clients in the United States and abroad. These experiences lead me to propose a means of clarifying the purposes of management consulting. When clarity about purpose exists.
Management consulting includes a broad range of activities, and the many firms and their members often define these practices quite differently. One way to categorize the activities is in terms of the professional’s area of expertise (such as competitive analysis, corporate strategy, operations management, or human resources). But in practice, as many differences exist within these categories as between them.
Perhaps a more useful way of analyzing the process is to consider its purposes; clarity about goals certainly influences an engagement’s successConsoel Agency
A management consultant should neither reject nor accept the client’s initial description too readily. Suppose the problem is presented as low morale and poor performance in the hourly work force. The consultant who buys this definition on faith might spend a lot of time studying symptoms without ever uncovering causes. who in turn must learn to satisfy expanded expectations.
Although I have somewhat exaggerated the level of collaboration usually possible, I am convinced that effective management consulting is difficult unless the relationship moves farther in a collaborative direction than most clients expect. Successful consulting is expensive not only because good consultants’ fees are high but also because senior managers should be involved throughout the process.