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PA day (again): Sept 7th

#1 PA day (again): Sept 7th
29/08/2009 18:15


I wonder what the big announcement at the September 7th meeting will be.

Ding ! Ding ! Seconds away.

Round Two?

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#2 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
30/08/2009 09:32

anon to PA-er (#1)

second round of redundancies?

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#3 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
30/08/2009 16:14

POC man to anon (#2)

What else could it be? Most of the company seems to be on a PIP.

There is also talk of "voluntary" pay cuts.

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#4 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
30/08/2009 18:19

anon to POC man (#3)

Isn't PIP about individual performance rather than company performance, though?

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#5 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
31/08/2009 10:00

POC man to anon (#4)

That's the theory. A slightly more jaundiced view would be that it could be used to get around having to make redundancy payents.

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#6 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
31/08/2009 22:04

Anon to POC man (#5)

But surely PA wouldn't do that as an ethical company because that is what it says that they are on their red notebooks and white notebooks.

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#7 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
01/09/2009 08:41

anon to Anon (#6)

And we could use the usually wasted TDT pages at the back to figure out a compelling argument to use with prospective employers.

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#8 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
01/09/2009 08:59

ExPA to anon (#7)

Ah, TDT, I hope they pay Minto royalties.

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#9 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
01/09/2009 11:41

Ex-PA ITMgt to ExPA (#8)

Sad to hear about the decline of PA. I moved from PA about 3 years ago due to a change in personal circumstance and I had always found it a good place to work, good people and while there was a degree of "whos faces fits" there is everywhere. Good luck to any who are asked to leave

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#10 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
02/09/2009 06:51

Three to Ex-PA ITMgt (#9)

I doubt the meeting will be what you fear. If it was round 2 then there would be less notice given for the meeting. More likely to be a regular update meeting - how much do you like the new website, new notepads and so forth. I don't doubt round 2 is on the cards though just not yet.

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#11 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
02/09/2009 07:32

anon to Three (#10)

What is TDT?

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#12 TDT
02/09/2009 08:21

xPA to anon (#11)

TDT = Top Down Thinking, the structure PA uses for thought leadership. Identical in all but name to Minto's Pyramid Thinking

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#13 RE: TDT
02/09/2009 08:31

ZB to xPA (#12)

The slavish adherence to simplistic techniques like TDT is one of the reasons why PA are such a bunch of amateurs.

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#14 RE: TDT
02/09/2009 10:16

Basildon boy to ZB (#13)

I doubt they will use this as the forum to announce further cuts, but it is clear that further cuts are not far away. It will be the usual back slapping affair, telling us all how everything is rosy in the garden and how popular the new website is.

As for the new external webiste, the red and grey colour sheme looks cr@p, and some of the track records they have up there are older than my nan. As for the article telling other companies how to handle redundancies in a sensitive manner - are you havin' a larf??

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#15 RE: TDT
02/09/2009 13:31

The real Slim Shady to Basildon boy (#14)

Is that the HR / POC video? It made my blood boil to see two MCs rabbit on about maintaining staff morale, and being sympathetic to staff needs, during the redundancy process when PA clearly have not been.

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#16 RE: TDT
02/09/2009 22:48

BS to The real Slim Shady (#15)

On the contrary, some slavish adherence to TDT would help make PA more professional. Like the ethics, there's a lot of talk and not much walk.

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#17 RE: TDT
03/09/2009 21:14

EX PA to BS (#16)

And our clients always got something out of TDT when we used it with them. I did use the templates in the notebook, and the "Testing your TDT Argument" page on the back cover was quite useful. What TDT isn't is a substitute for real subject knowledge

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#18 RE: TDT
03/09/2009 22:17

anon to EX PA (#17)

So ideal for a bunch of generalists like PA!

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#19 RE: TDT
04/09/2009 21:28

Jacob to deleted (#0)

Please could BOPer, POCman and the corporate apologist/buffoon stop posting in this site - you're all very boring. And then there can be another redundancy as the apologist won't be needed on the payroll.

Even if critical, lets only have original views from now on.

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#20 Where does PA go from here?
06/09/2009 01:08

Erik the Viking to Jacob (#19)

So the main reason given for the redundancies has been to re-shape the firm.

(Please no sarcastic comments!)

Given PA's traditional strengths in the operational environment, where do PA folk think the firm is going to go from here? I get the feeling we are becoming more and more an IT consultancy.

Does anyone have any thoughts on where PA is going?

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#21 RE: Where does PA go from here?
06/09/2009 10:25

Dets to Erik the Viking (#20)

PA has some really deep local and central government relationships in both the UK and the Nordic countries that we should build upon.

We have had disasterous forays into Oz, Finland, France, etc etc, and also into private sector areas such as Financial Services. We need to refocus on what we do best - operational consulting in the public sector on our two main geographies. I think we have some way to go on the redundancies though. Entire practices (eg SMP or Defence) could be eliminated or merged into BOP or somewhere else.

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#22 RE: Where does PA go from here?
06/09/2009 17:51

Call this a strategy? to Dets (#21)

Pick and mix:

Keep the IT and Government practices and jettison the rest? Pull out of the US? Close all UK offices except 123? Cut corporate and support staff to consultants from 1:3 to 1:10. Have only 1 of these 3 roles - EC, CEO, COO. Get rid of the bottom 20% of partners - regardless of their shareholding.

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#23 RE: Where does PA go from here?
06/09/2009 20:43

Anon to Call this a strategy? (#22)

Why stop at 123?

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#24 RE: Where does PA go from here?
07/09/2009 23:38

rollercoaster to Anon (#23)

So what was it?

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#25 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 08:59

PAer to rollercoaster (#24)

Don't know - I was on client site yesterday, but no doubt it was the usual corporate hogwash, delivered in true TDT format

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#26 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 09:18

anon to PAer (#25)

so what's TDT?

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#27 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 11:19

for sale to anon (#26)

Where does PA go from here? Simple, it goes up for sale. Despite the denials earlier in the year, it would appear to be one of our favoured strategic options. Given we're making redundancies but remain profitable at a decent levl, it would be a reasonable assumption t say they want to maximise cash flow for the best possible price. Due diligence metrics look a lot better with high cash and lower headcount.

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#28 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 13:02

outsider to for sale (#27)

I think that may be the only option left open to the company. It is cash rich, but still shrinking in terms of revenue and staff numbers.

PwC are rumoured to be sitting on a big cash pile, but I don't know if the quality of PA staff and clients would be of interest to them.

I'd imagine a takeover or merger with one of the bigger UK public sector consultancies would be the best option.

Who knows though? Maybe SAIC might come back?

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#29 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 15:31

anon to outsider (#28)

It was fairly uninspiring stuff - mainly bad news about targets etc. Nothing on the re-structuring of the firm which was the stated reason for the redundancy programme.

I don't think PwC could afford to buy PA so can't see that happening.

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#30 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 15:59

Anon to anon (#29)

What were the key messages from this meeting? How many were a victim of the redundancy programme?

Given the current staff morale, is it inevitable that there will be a likely re-structuring of the firm to remain competitive?

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#31 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 16:35

SMP person to deleted (#0)

The usual platitudes about how (badly) the company is doing. I see it as a precursor to the bad news that more job cuts are on the way. Interesting that there was no reference to the last round of redundancies.

As for the outright sale option, it is one possibility, and probably the best one for the company. The partners don't have a clue how to run this business, so a better idea would be to let someone else try. I doubt PwC will have much of an appetite, looking at all the Lehman bros trouble that they are in. An overseas investor looking to get into UK public sector accounts maybe?

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#32 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 18:42

Moulton Brown to SMP person (#31)

Liquidate the company and give the cash pile back to the shareholders. The old codgers can retire happy without worrying some upstart might take some tiny risk which might diminish their capital.

And no more threads on this site too!

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#33 RE: Where does PA go from here?
08/09/2009 22:20

Wot? to Moulton Brown (#32)

If ever there was an advert for what a load of bullsh1t unmoderated chat rooms are, this is it.

Take yourselves seriously and either do this forum space properly or turn the lights out. FFS

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#34 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 10:29

Bryan Hickson - to Wot? (#33)

In response to your posting Wot?, this forum is certainly moderated as you'll see from the stick we get when we are obliged to take down beyond the pale postings. It's a thankless task but we look to do this with as light a touch as possible as, over time, the tone of contributions tends to reach a balance. However, we can't tolerate profanity and an offensive acronym is still offensive so please take note.

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#35 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 10:58

James to Wot? (#33)

A sale would be the easiest way for PA to emerge from its decline.

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#36 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 14:26

j to James (#35)

If PA had been sold a couple of years ago it would have been a good move.

Now do you buy the company, or do you just entice away the rain-makers? Not that PA has ever had many of them, which is oner of its biggest weaknesses. PA partners can't sell to new clients, even when they have a good story to tell.

If I wanted to build a new factory in some up and coming but hellish territory would I go to Mckinsey or PA? Sorry, even I would go with PA. Every PA assignment I worked on was playing Leon to McKinsey. The good people in PA are great, but a lot of them, especially the outsiders, get done for by internal politics.

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#37 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 18:04

Leon to j (#36)

"If I wanted to build a new factory in some up and coming but hellish territory would I go to Mckinsey or PA? "

Given that few of McKinsey's people have any demonstrable experience of managing operations or establishing new enterprises you'd be mad to go to them.

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#38 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 18:28

The Jester to Leon (#37)

PA Consulting v McKinsey??? I don't think soooo.... It's a bit like Scunthorpe Town B team V Chelsea. A complete walkover.

PA operate in a much lower league than McKinsey and probably always will.

Good joke though. I laughed so hard at the attempt to compare the two organisations that I almost lost my memory stick.

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#39 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 18:51

Boredofallthisnonsense to The Jester (#38)

Why does this forum always descend into playground level comments like the one above? Surely the key consideration is that people are being impacted by the downturn of PA - and that impacts lives in a much more important way than simply "we're better than you nur nur nur". Grr!

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#40 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 19:14

pacamack to Boredofallthisnonsense (#39)

Jester you really are a joker if you think the blue sky brigade at McKinsey would make a better job of a factory build than PA!

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#41 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 20:44

another grad retard on here to pacamack (#40)

By god, so McKinsey rule the world in everything? They do STRATEGY consulting, PA do OPERATIONS consulting, can you not get out of your self-obsessed hole to understand that maybe a PowerPoint pack isn't good enough for 90% of the world and that maybe, just maybe, practical experience might count for something?

If McKinsey built a factory it would be shut down in a week due to all the hot air creating an explosion risk.

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#42 RE: Where does PA go from here?
09/09/2009 22:25

Wot? to Bryan Hickson - (#34)


Maybe unmoderated is the wrong word then. Perhaps I should have used 'unattributable' instead.

I feel my point stands however. If you mandated some element of identification then you'd see less of the tiresome rubbish evidenced in this and a host of other threads. And before you say it I don't believe that there is any benefit in anonymity. The dross generated as a result diminishes significantly the value of the nuggets.

Sincere apologies for the acronym at the end of my posting. My frustration with the drivel that your current systems allow got the better of me.

At a slight tangent, the middle F isn't technically a profanity as there isn't a religious connotation. It is obviously a vulgar expletive and as such could be viewed as offensive by some and for this I apologise.

Personally I find the ill-informed 'opinion' of a number of your anonymous posters equally of not more offensive.

Finally a brief thank you to you and your fellow moderators for the effort you put in as part of your job in running the website. So there you go... not entirely thankless ;-)

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#43 RE: Where does PA go from here?
10/09/2009 07:57

Be the first.... to Wot? (#42)

So why not practice what you preach? You yourself are posting anonymously, Wot!

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#44 RE: Where does PA go from here?
10/09/2009 16:02

Anonyimityiswrong to Wot? (#42)

Wot - I absolutely agree with your point on the need for there to be some form of identification.

Top Consultant - many people I discuss your forum with see it as being mainly a place for immature people to post childish and unhelpful comments. Look at this thread as an example. 45 posts of which probably 2/3 is rubbish. As usual, it very quickly moves from a serious topic to someone posting a snidey remark - the 6th post by anon.

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#45 RE: Where does PA go from here?
10/09/2009 17:01

J to Anonyimityiswrong (#44)

I would see it as fair comment if PA claim to be ethical on their material but could be percieved to be unethical in how they deal with their own staff

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#46 RE: Where does PA go from here?
10/09/2009 21:40

anon to J (#45)

I do agree that some of the posts are immature although as an ex-PA person I can see how the horrible culture there causes such bad feeling. Problem is with stopping anonymity is that some people will not feel that they can post constructively critical things that their employer might see and it just becomes a bland corporate cheerleader forum.

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#47 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 09:48

Bryan Hickson to anon (#46)

Points taken Wot? (both anonymity and 'profanity') - thanks for coming back to me and, indeed, for your thanks! Your idea is interesting but moving to a model where all participants need to log their details would definitely impact on the candour of the postings though I agree that this would help limit the ‘dross.’ I think the former is more important than the latter and I hope that most of the serious posters who are interested in asking serious and interesting questions and getting grown-up answers can quickly identify what’s of value and what patently isn’t.

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#48 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 09:59

anon to Bryan Hickson (#47)

I agree completely with Bryan Hickson.

A lot of us use this forum to get support from our peers in other consultancies. Who in their right mind is going to vent, ask difficult questions or share problems on a forum where HR or all sorts of internet weirdos and stalkers are breathing down your neck? Plus, a lot of people simply can't be bothered to register for websites just to share a few comments.

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#49 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 11:25

Bryan Hickson to anon (#48)

Anon - that was a disproportionate response to Wot?, missed his valid point and was abusive, hence it's been moderated. Right, I'm going back behind the scenes now and will simply take down further offensive posts.

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#50 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 13:10

Erik the Viking to Bryan Hickson (#49)

So if PA took Mark Thomas's advice where would they be:

Secure liquidity - £200m cash reserves

Improve performance - reduancies and natural attrition have led to improved performance and profit already

adjust your business mix - hhmm, still the same geographies, practices and services as there were 12 months ago

take bold, decisive action - this is where PA is failing by being paralysed by its natural caution. I think PA needs to be bold and bring in some outside blood to give fresh ideas at the top.

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#51 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 13:14

PAer to Erik the Viking (#50)

"I think PA needs to be bold and bring in some outside blood to give fresh ideas at the top."

Agreed - We missed an opportunity when we replaced Monty Burns with his loyal sidekick. That was the opportunity to take the company in a brand new direction.

Instead, we just get more of the same. Don’t panic and carry on !

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#52 RE: Where does PA go from here?
11/09/2009 22:46

Anon to PAer (#51)

The anonymity question is interesting.

Removing anonymity would help improve the quality of the posts, but the fact that PA very much dislikes employees using this site -- as we have seen from the warnings issued by the CEO and his team -- inevitaby means that free speech would be unhealthily constrained.

I say keep it anonymous and moderate on the rare occasions that posts are unacceptable.

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#53 RE: Where does PA go from here?
12/09/2009 08:07

anon ex PA to Anon (#52)

Interesting thread this one, as we seem to be going down all sorts of 'do's' and 'don't's' of posting here, when the underlying debate is about a missed opportunity.

PA was once a great firm, with good, intellectually stimulating work. Its been diluted through big, profitable 'land and expand' jobs in Government, and now has forgotten how to get out of it's hole. Sad day. Its pretty clear the "unsellable" PA is for sale, and I think whoever buys will need to work out the cost of gardening when they do due diligence - that is weeding out the below par people and offerings. This is not a big four contender, but there are some big four quality people left if you look hard enough.

Even in this downturn, there is work out there for the great people at PA to go elsewhere ... my suggestion, friends, is do that if you can. You'll find out some of the myths PA top brass like to propogate about the outside world are just that.

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#54 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
12/09/2009 09:51

Gerry to anon (#2)

The real issue is whether all these threads about PA are at all representative of what PA is really like. PA is quite a small firm in the grand scheme of things but is subject of a disproportionate amount of threads on here.

Why do whingers at PA whinge more than those at other firms? Are they more vindictive, less busy or do they have something to be genuinely disaffected about?

Let's say that there is something rotten there - a better approach might be for PA's management to take the comments on board and address the causes. Whether positive or negative, justified or not, all feedback is good because someone has a reason to make the comment.

Obviously PA's management see the comments as unrepresentative from lunatic outliers and want to suppress the comments. With that attitude, a new marketing strategy exploiting social media would be dead in the water.

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#55 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
12/09/2009 10:27

Middo Smithers to Gerry (#54)

What crude morons like Wot? don't realise is that there is a mountain of discontent within PA with how the company has been mis-managed over the past 5 - 10 years.

Middo and his merry men point to the employee suggestions notice board as "evidence" that they are listening, but most of the suggestions there are infantile and just pander to the "excellent" management style of the company. 99% of suggestions are rejected, in any case.

The reason why PA employees vent on here, is that this is the only thing that management seem to listen to. Hence the warnings from the company about posting on here.

So here are my two suggestions:

1) If WTF? is worried about anonymity, please lead by example and publish your name

2) If management are listening, please come clean and tell us if the company is up for sale as it was in 2004. Shareholders deserve to be told.

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#56 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
12/09/2009 17:22

Wot? to Middo Smithers (#55)

Middo Smithers.

I wasn't referring to PA. I was referring to the board in general.

'crude moron'? I don't think so.

As for anonymity, I corrected myself to suggest unattributable. The model that the Register follow would be fine for here. It would deter trolls like you.

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#57 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
12/09/2009 20:08

j to Middo Smithers (#55)

Since this is a thread about PA I'll stick to that subject.

Three suggestions, for what they are worth.

First recognise that PA splits into three main groups of people. There are the real subject experts - and yes they do have some. Second there are the vapid ego driven suits, and thirdly the poor saps who are merely bodies to be sold.

My experience before PA being of small specialised consultancies that were a) Wholly staffed by experts and b) Socially cohesive, I'll admit I don't know how typical PA is, but my suspicion is those divisions run deeper in PA than elsewhere.

More importantly I don't think PA recognises those divisions and exploits them. Rather it confuses them, so you have bodies and suits sold as experts, and experts who fail because they can't function as a body or a suit. Then the suits spend more time infighting than rain making. Actually I should have separated the suits into two sub categories - those that can sell and those that can't.

I found myself on a PA assignment where I was the only person with the professional qualification that the client specified as a prerequisite for the whole team, listening to an unqualified MC suit giving advice the client knew was BS whilst trying to motivate consultants who knew they knew nothing about the specialism but who wanted to do a good job.

The stupid thing is that if the client had been told what they were getting up front they would have been happy - they actually liked the PA team a lot. As it was they felt betrayed and walked away.

So suggestion number one is for PA to be honest about what they are selling.

Secondly recognise the different skills staff bring to the job. The classic PA issue is that consultants are judged on results that are out of their control.

The third is one I don't think has been mentioned here. Show PA a whiff of a tender and every partner in every practice will try and get their cut. I've seen 10 days PC work with some internal advice from experts in other practices expanded to include 2 days work from 3 different partners in different practices who knew F... All about the subject but who wanted their cut.

So third piece of advice to PA: Reward other practices for contributing to successful bids without making them inflate the cost.

Trust me on this as someone who as a customer now laughs when he receives PA bids that are at least 50% more than the nearest rival* for work that is intended to see whether or not we can work together.

Well it doesn't matter, no one in PA will listen.


* And yes that includes McKinsey, Bain BCC etc. It isn't that PA's rates are excessive, but they throw 20 people at an assignment where one star would get their foot in the door and their bum in the boardroom.

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#58 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
15/09/2009 15:53

PIPer to POC man (#3)

So round 1 is over, but when is round 2 going to start. Does anybody have the definitive list of round 1 casualties that can be published?????

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#59 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
15/09/2009 15:59

PMPer to PIPer (#58)

PIPer - show some class.

People have lost their jobs and I don't think they'll appreciate heartless sods like you gloating over their misfortune.

If someone wants you to know they have been redundant - they will tell you.

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#60 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
15/09/2009 20:31

J to PMPer (#59)

But remember, PA never make anyone redundant in a downturn, it is the first thing they tell you in interviews and on induction day, when they explain why the pay and conditions are so poor.

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#61 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
15/09/2009 21:24

anon to J (#60)

First redundancies in 60 years! Or so I've been told.

More importantly, where does the company go from here? Rumour has it that there is a major restructuring on the cards.

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#62 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
16/09/2009 10:50

Mr Cool to j (#57)

@ j

Good post. And you were right - no one listened - straight back to slagging each other off.

Its like an addiction!

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#63 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
16/09/2009 16:21

PIPer to PMPer (#59)

PMPer should know that I was also a casualty so I think my comments were fair in the circumstances. Given that a lot of the firm seem to be on unjustified PIPs have many more PAers are going to suffer. It has changed from a caring firm to a profit making body shop

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16/09/2009 16:26

J to PIPer (#63)

You have my total sympathy. I believe PA's use of PIPs will come back to haunt them one day, especially when used to manage out those with low utilisiation and those with a good historic track record.

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16/09/2009 21:54

Pippa to J (#64)

PIPs are bad? Other consultancies operate "up or out", PIPs have but a fraction of the impact of these other policies. How many anti-McKinsey/ Bain/ Booz etc threads do you see attacking their performance management processes? Whoever said above that PA has a disproportionate amount of comments on this board is right.

I think a "major restructuring" will involve practice mergers but not too many redundancies, it's more about getting rid of the many disincentives in sharing in the business.

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17/09/2009 23:33

expaer to Pippa (#65)

Is pa really that bad - i mean was there until march and it was ok - no pressure to perform, if off the clock sit around surfing the net all day or 'work from home'. It was very easy actually. Needed a bit of a challenge so left. But also, how bad are things now what is total ytd utilisation 50% - still profitable i bet

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19/09/2009 13:04

Anon exPA to expaer (#66)

You're lucky my friend. The way PA treated me made me ill (normally a fit and healthy person). So happy to be elsewhere!

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#68 RE: PA day (again): Sept 7th
20/09/2009 19:23

Ex PAer to anon (#61)

There were redundancies in the early 1990s before, during and after the move to 123BPR. There have been a few others as well but PA like to use the PIP process to pick of individual most of whom were performing and earning money for the company. Interesting to note that they are currently recruiting an HR Manager!! How many HR Managers are required to run a company?

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21/09/2009 22:19

MAH to Anon exPA (#67)

Exactly the same for me, too. I have never worked for an organisation that makes such a big deal about ethical behaviour, then demonstrates exactly the opposite in the way in which it treats its employees.

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