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incompetence

 
#1 incompetence
04/03/2007 05:15

frustrated insomniac strategy consultant

The conundrum is this. We depend on incompetence to get work but incompetence frustrates us because we are perfectionists. Yet again, I find myself working a week-end to sort out an organisation which seems to have been run by a bunch of retarded 12 year olds for the past few years. I am quite inexperienced but cannot believe the basic errors which seem to be commonplace in so many organisations - even some of the more reputable. Do they need high level strategy consultants or do they just need a bit of common sense?

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#2 RE: incompetence
04/03/2007 06:07

anon to frustrated insomniac strategy consultant (#1)

Tell me about it. I can't believe my clients pay me thousands of pounds a day to do what is ultimately basic administrative management. You offer them strategic insight, coaching and help to improve their and their teams' capability but they would rather waste millions of pounds a year on getting someone to do everything for them.

To adapt the Chinese proverb, it's the difference between teaching the client to fish versus spoon-feeding them fishpaste. Whether you're developing a strategy that goes onto the shelf or implementing a system, if you can't teach the client (or, in these cases, they're not interested in learning), the change ceases being sustainable as soon as you the consultant walk out of the door.

At the end of the day, this is what the "war for talent" is all about - it's not about finding superstars, just about getting halfway competent staff willing to do a hard day's work.

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#3 RE: incompetence
05/03/2007 09:44

goz to anon (#2)

You are complaining about what gives you work...and you may be missing the point.

I came to consulting from industry having run several large businesses. There are several reasons why what you see as obvious may not have been tackled:

1. The management team is so busy fighting fires on a daily basis that they cannot see what is obvious - if you're fighting a fire you're blinded by smoke.

2. The management team may be split and situations are allowed to develop so that politics can play out - consultants are a wonderful judge and jury who's evidence can be leveraged to affect boardroom change.

3. Sometimes to be seen to effect major organisational change you let things slip a little, esp if new into a position as you can blame it on the previous regime and buy yourself time and a greater margin for comeback. Then, using your network and understanding you employ consultants to assist in defining your strategy (non exec boards and shareholders love the security of this) knowing full well what your strategy is before they even arrive.

4. Your management team is in fact sh"te and are lost and blaming each other.

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