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Wanting More- Advice request

#1 Wanting More- Advice request
08/02/2011 13:44



Tier 2 consulting firm

I am at the point where I am looking to move up a level in my career, (read into management). I have managed groups of consultants and clients on client site and back at HQ. I have international experience. I have several sector and subject specialisms.

I have always taken assignments that others have turned down, I produce published worked. My conversations about promotion are being met with negative responses. Peers are being promoted arounf me despite being content free.

The gist is:

- We are looking for people who get others to perfrom the work rather than do the work themselves

- Some people do work very well and others are able see what is being done.

One partner has gone as far as to say, we won't want to promote you as you are someone who does the work. we would then need to recuit to replace and train them up

I understand from a certain point of view. My question is:

1. Are there any consultancies whose model is to allow promotions for those who do the work rather than claim to have done it

and should I join them?

Thanks for posting


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#2 RE: Wanting More- Advice request
08/02/2011 14:01

Mars A Day to Idris (#1)

Assuming this is not a troll you are asking the wrong questions for a start. Instead you should be asking

So would you rather I join a competitor so you not only have to recruit and train someone to replace me, but also have to find someone to replace my content, and for that matter train the new hire to do the work?


are you taking the p1ss?

Reality is it can be hard to move from pure delivery into a leadership role staying in situ, where you will be dragged into internal politics. Assuming you are not doing anything to self-sabotage your promotion prospects where you are (such as poor inter personal skills etc) then you need to make a move to another firm. Dont leave where you are until you have something lined up. Chances are when they get wind of you leaving they will suddenly talk about promotion prospects, but this will always be on unclear timescales, while they quietly look to replace you anyway.


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#3 RE: Wanting More- Advice request
08/02/2011 15:50

Idris to Mars A Day (#2)

Hi Mars - thanks for posting

Not a Troll posting.

I hear what you are saying. I'm already involved in internal politics for consulting decisions, proposals, team definiton, practice and company positioning etc. I am not involved in what charges are levied and won't be until the next step (other than informal advice and opinion).

Inter-personal relations are regarded as good with support from partners for various internal feedback. But I get the feeling more and more that I've been pigeon holed as somebody who will do the work, and do it well, whatever is thrown at them. And that this means you can get me to do the work and take the credit for directing it even if you have no input whatsoever. This means I am not being offered the career moving chances I need. But then you create those opportnities yourself.

I have been considereing interviewing else where. Things that are stopping/delaying me?

1. Most consultancies operate the same model, doers and blaggers - why would it be different else where?

2. If I have to change my approach when I move to another consultancy - why not change it here

3. Should I be compromising my integrity full stop, or do I push against the model and risk losing my job (through the usual managing out maneuvers that occur)

Perhaps I just stop accepting work/saying yes and start recommending others to do the work and that I can oversee them....

Thanks for reading - any advice appreciated

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#4 RE: Wanting More- Advice request
09/02/2011 11:40

Mr Cool to Idris (#3)

Simple answer – no. There are no firms that can afford to promote consultants that “do” the work. Some might temporarily allow this if they need to attract or retain certain specialists (I have seen this happen myself with investment banking risk SMEs), but the consultancy career progression for all firms, from system integrators to strategy firms, mirrors the revenue generation model that all consultancy firms have. That is revenue = daily rate x days billed x team size. An individuals progression (and by that I mean grade promotion and overall salary) has to reflect their individual impact on that simple formula. The problem is that any realistic increase in an individual day rate has a small impact on a team’s blended rate, while adding an additional member to the team has a huge impact, as does extending the duration of the project. Managers and salesmen will therefore always have a significantly bigger impact on revenue than even the most genius consultant. Any firm that says they have a different model will soon find themselves in financial trouble.

I’d offer two pieces of advice. First, set aside any issue you have with “the blaggers”. Yes, there are many of these people in consultancy, but they still make up the minority of managers and salesmen. They tend to “luck out” on a sale or two and then hit a dry patch and end up being released or sidelined. They are nothing but an itch – learn to ignore them. Partners will suffer these windbags while they are bringing in revenue in the short term, but do not believe they are fooled by them

Secondly, you should couch your requests for different roles in terms of the impact you will have on overall revenue. Do not ask to be a leader in a way that suggests you will no longer be available to “do” the work. Instead suggest that by being the leader, you will be enabling the billing of a larger team – they will be enabled by your abilities. This might even allow the firm to put more junior staff on the team, where margins can be higher.

The sad thing is that I suspect you may have to move firm to achieve this. There is frankly something fishy about your partners response that I cannot put my finger on, but it smacks of a desire not to rock any boats. It smells of preservation of short term revenue. Is there any chance that your firm is under financial pressure?

I would suggest you start interviewing, but stress that you are looking for the chance to step up in to your first enablement role. accept nothing else.

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#5 RE: Wanting More- Advice request
09/02/2011 12:03

Wandering Man to Mr Cool (#4)

At Deloitte, from my experience, there are three different tracks - the Partner track, the Specialist track, and the Associate track.

I think that the Specialist track sounds like it would be what you're looking for. As you continue to show your worth, you continue to be promoted as a "specialist leader" within the firm.

That said, given time, the cream always rises to the top. If you haven't been able to impress your superiors so far, then you're playing the game badly and perhaps over-estimate your worth.

If you're doing the work then I am sure you will find ways to claim it. Of course, we all feel jilted when we are overlooked for a promotion... but I think you're over-reacting.

That said, if you feel that your current firm is not meritocratic, then I recommend floating the resume around and see what you get. If you are as critical as you say you are, you letting them know that you are leaving may just right their attitude.

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#6 RE: Wanting More- Advice request
09/02/2011 12:07

Idris to Mr Cool (#4)

Hi Cool - Thanks for posting.

Your comments make a significant amount of sense.

The firm has, like most in the field, been though financial troubles. work seems to be picking up, but this does not provide an instant and long term financial relief. So, your instincts are well placed and it does help with my insight.

The model is ubiquitous. It is time to evolve my approach and become more overt in my sales generation work, which is normally done through driving collegiate efforts, through which all benefit.

Naivety, may be a partial cause, but a belief in a longer term payback, heavily pushed by the firm at an individual level is clearly overly disingenuous.

Many thanks for posting both.

Any other comments are of ongoing interest.


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