Management Consulting Can’t Save You

Zeus Jones
Feb 11, 2020 · 3 min read

Consulting can no longer deliver real change.

Today’s business climate is a radical departure from where we’ve been in the past and this is creating massive headwinds for many businesses. In their desire to transform, many of these businesses are still turning to management consulting for answers. However, traditional consulting can no longer help you compete.

I know this because we often see the messy aftermath of consulting engagements. Why? Because our clients call us in to pick up the pieces and actually make something happen in the wake of many months of analysis and millions of dollars spent. The “results” and “value” our clients get for the time and money they sink into these engagements is frankly shocking. Time and time again the deductive, one-size-fits-all traditional consulting process fails to make meaningful change, let alone ”transformation,” in their organization.

Traditional consulting utilizes historical business data and analytics that provides a rear view mirror glance at your category. This hyper-traditional vantage will not give you an edge in today’s business environment where disruptors are creating entirely new categories and using assets in visionary ways.

Consultants weaken your org’s capabilities.

Consultants prey on the have-nots of the industry. It may sound strange to call some of the largest businesses in the world “have-nots” but in today’s business culture they lack some critical internal capabilities that are needed to compete and continually innovate.

However, leaning on traditional consulting to fill necessary gaps will not only be a waste of valuable time and resources, it actually weakens your organization. Because consulting models rely on you outsourcing vital strategic capability in perpetuity, your people are not only missing out on valuable growth opportunities, they feel less ownership of the business. Inevitably, they are less curious and imaginative about the path forward, and are given the impression that your organization can’t innovate without help.

If you are depending on consultants while disruptors and competitors are building and bolstering internal capabilities, you will find yourself falling farther and farther behind. There is a new breed of business, businesses we call next-generation businesses, that have avoided engaging with traditional consulting all together. These businesses chart trajectories through imagination and a broader vision of culture, which allow their strategies ultimately to be much more impactful in both the short and long term.

Consulting will soon be extinct. Don’t run with the dinosaurs.

As previously mentioned, next-gen businesses are eschewing management consulting entirely. When many of the most dynamic businesses today refuse to use your services the writing is on the wall. The consulting world is desperate, and as a result they are trying to vertically integrate to offer a broader swath of services to not only help their clients implement strategies, but to remain relevant. However, integrating offerings like design thinking and experience design can’t make up for a lack of fundamental imagination and vision for where business and culture is heading.

Management consulting is out of touch with the current business culture. In fact, some of them are so morally bankrupt they areunder fire for their antiquated and draconian business practices.Their methodologies are too slow and too standardized to provide the value that they once did. Business is increasingly dynamic and interconnected in ways that didn’t exist when many of these practices were formed. Management consulting is the product of an extinct business culture that will drag your brand into the grave with it if you continue to engage with them.

Instead of taking the safe and traditional path to move your business forward, you need to look beyond consulting. Check out our next post below to see what we think businesses need to transform and thrive.


Uncommon Wisdom

Thoughts and explorations from Zeus Jones.

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