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Does loyalty exist within consultancy?

 
#1 Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
10/03/2014 15:49

TheGraduate

It may seem a weird question, but does loyalty exist (or more to the point, is it recognised/rewarded?) within the consulting sector? I've always thought when I get into consultancy I want to remain with one firm for the long term, give them my all and build my way up from the bottom.

That said, on forums such as these it seems the advice is mostly to "chase the buck". I understand it is important to value yourself and your contributions to a company but it feels like many people jump ship as soon as a better pay packet comes along. It is almost as if loyalty within this sector holds back your progression.

Is this approach more effective for a better career? And has consultancy always been this way or is it a change in attitude in recent times? Or is this limited to the bigger firms?

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#2 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
10/03/2014 17:07

marsday to TheGraduate (#1)

A rolling stone gathers no moss. It does however become more spherical over time, probably smaller, and with minor indentations, abrasions and eventually becomes completely smooth and resistant to anything being attached to it. Depending on final destination it could of course gather lichen or such like. Variables you see. Lots of 'em.

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#3 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
10/03/2014 20:48

Arby the Manager to marsday (#2)

I'll answer as I'm not as drunk as Mars...

The loyalty to any firm is to its shareholders (whether public shareholders, partners or owners) not to their employees. Obviously they have to be shown to be caring, lovely and wonderful too get in future graduates, however in times of crisis, they will keep you for your future potential - not past performance. Don't kid yourself that anyone values loyalty at this level - it's all about money. Therefore see these firms as the same as they treat you - as another party in a temporary relationship of mutual benefit. Once either party realizes a greater benefit can be achieved by creating another relationship, they will do so.

Arby

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#4 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 08:50

Anon MCs to Arby the Manager (#3)

+1 to Arby

It really does work both ways and the "future performance" bit is totally true.

Remember that you work for a money making business, not a charity.

If you want loyalty, cuddly bears and the feeling of being part of something changing the planet no matter how little or small the difference, there are plenty of charities desperate for help.

I help one out in some of my spare time, propose you do the same.

However at work, Arby is correct.

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#5 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 10:35

Dan! Dan! Dan! to Anon MCs (#4)

I disagree with posts 3 and 4.

Loyalty does exist in firms. And so it should. However, one is not loyal (or at least should not be loyal) to a firm, rather to individuals in his firm.

Consulting firms are staffed with human beings - a certain type of human being (e.g. those who find it a fulfilling endeavour to come online behind anonymous pseudonyms and having spelling and grammar competitions)- but human beings nonetheless. And human beings respond very well to reliability and loyalty.

You will find yourself working for someone (or several people), at some point, whom you trust/admire/respect. Your loyalty to them, if heartfelt and not of the brown-nosing type, will be valued and rewarded.

I constantly see (senior) people leave consulting for fancy jobs in industry, better firms, to start their own firms, etc. and bring at least one of their most trusted right-hand men with them.

Anyway, the above just kept me amused while I had my coffee. Ultimately, you just need to be the kind of professional you want to be and would respect in others - that's what will satisy you the most.

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#6 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 10:42

Arby the Manager to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#5)

The point is the same - don't be misguided by the fuzzy, warm image of bands of comrades jumping ship together to face the enemy. This is not Saving Private Ryan.

Loyalty to people is based upon, again, their future potential. When you see Senior Leaders leaving taking some of their people with them, I guarantee you they are not doing this because of "friendships" or "loyalty". The fact you believe this tells me you are not a Senior Leader...

The best Senior Leaders ignore friendships, loyalties and commitments and instead make a value judgement on the future potential of their employees and teams. You can be as loyal as a golden retriever, but if you're not performing, a good leader will take you out into the hills and shoot you....

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#7 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 12:44

Dan! Dan! Dan! to Arby the Manager (#6)

I'm not speaking from the POV of a senior leader/firm, and whether they are loyal, or what motivates them to portray behaviour that they pass off as loyalty. I'm addressing the original Q, i.e. whether there's any career value for a grad in showing loyalty in consulting. Again, I'm saying yes, but to chosen people and not your brand/firm.

Your comments boil down to: if you're not good at your job, loyalty won't help you. This is a distraction from the original question.

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#8 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 13:08

Anon MCs to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#7)

Dan! oh Dan!

You are incorrect mon ami - see the original question below:

--------------------------------------

It may seem a weird question, but does loyalty exist (or more to the point, is it recognised/rewarded?) within the consulting sector? I've always thought when I get into consultancy I want to remain with one firm for the long term, give them my all and build my way up from the bottom.

That said, on forums such as these it seems the advice is mostly to "chase the buck". I understand it is important to value yourself and your contributions to a company but it feels like many people jump ship as soon as a better pay packet comes along. It is almost as if loyalty within this sector holds back your progression.

Is this approach more effective for a better career? And has consultancy always been this way or is it a change in attitude in recent times? Or is this limited to the bigger firms?

----------------------------------------------

As you can see Dan!, he is asking a number of questions in relation to loyalty. Arby simply explained that yes, "loyalty" does exist but not in the type that you see in the films. This one is more directly linked to performance and shareholders.

Dan! - by saying what you did about Partners taking with them their "right hand man" you agreed with Arby. I have many times seen Senior Managers taking with them the outright performers, while leaving the loyal "ok performers" behind.

I think we can all agree that yes, doing the best for your company and loyal to a decent / fair Partner who has great leadership qualities is off course beneficial to all.

A key point that Arby made is however - don't let that get to your head or believe it is loyalty like in the films, as when the poop hits the fan a lot of things go out of the window

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#9 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
11/03/2014 23:51

Dan! Dan! Dan! to Anon MCs (#8)

Firstly, to me the questions you highlight are different ways of asking the same thing: is it a good idea, vis-à-vis career building, for this graduate to be 'loyal'? Other Qs in the original post are double-clicks or secondary. But I concede that considering the motivations for leaders to return loyalty is an important part of the response.

That said, I can't see how throwing in other variables along the lines of 'managers prefer future potential over loyalty' helps. I can only assume (based on my next point) that Arby means future potential in the narrow sense of functional capability. Surely we have to assume this person has the potential capability he/she has whether loyal or not. In doing so, this variable becomes a constant insofar as the question pertains to him/her.

Expected loyalty (based on demonstrations of loyalty shown in the past) forms an important part of someone's future potential. To say the former is not important given the importance of the latter makes no sense.

Building on this point, when we talk about the benefits of being loyal, we are forced to refer to more than just leaving or staying in a firm. If not, it would never be an issue one way or another: as long as you have not left you are 100% loyal, once you're gone it no longer matters anyway. So what does loyalty in the workplace mean, if not simply staying/leaving? For me: being there when you're needed, doing your best for someone, defending that person when needed, not going behind someone's back, etc.

(As a reasonably senior manager - thanks Arby the Detective) those are the things that come to set people apart for me when building a team or recommending someone, assuming they can all make pretty PowerPoint charts.

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#10 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
12/03/2014 01:11

Arby the Manager to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#9)

Future potential means the ability to make me, or those who impact my promotion prospects, money. That is all it amounts to.

In the market economy, loyalty - if evaluated rationally - means simply the the employee is staying where his work is most rewarded. A capitalist system rewards based upon performance and future potential.

The points you make "not going behind someone's back" etc - is not loyalty, but simply the civilized masquerade we live every day in order to further progress our position in the value chain.

Honestly speaking (and no disrespect) you are a damn fool if you believe loyalty lies with any medium to large firm to their employees. You will be cut and fired as soon as you are not proving your worth, treat them with the same amount of respect....

Arby

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#11 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
12/03/2014 01:12

Arby the Manager to TheGraduate (#1)

Also "reasonably senior manager" in my book means "not very senior manager"....

Arby the Detective

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#12 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
12/03/2014 10:35

Dan! Dan! Dan! to Arby the Manager (#11)

I have no idea why you insist on muddying the question of the value of loyalty with considerations of ability to make money (which is what it always will be for a given individual). Perhaps you've been crapped on excessively throughout your career, which has given you your apparent one-track, cynical mind.

Your idea of loyalty -the employee staying where his work is most rewarded- seems to be a futher manifestation of that.

I'm suggesting there is more to a fulfilling career than making money, and future potential to do so: trust, support, transparency, loyalty given and returned, etc. The kind of stuff that comes, in part, from 'loyal' relationships (as per my own definition - for good or for bad).

Given you have the money making potential that you have, you're faced with the choice of what to do with that: 'chase the buck', which has the explicit/obvious advantages it has, or be 'loyal' (to the right people in the right ways). I'm proposing that there is value in the second too. That's all.

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#13 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
12/03/2014 14:59

Freezing to Anon MCs (#8)

Interesting thread...the following might not make much sense, but it does in my head :S

Dan! - by saying what you did about Partners taking with them their "right hand man" you agreed with Arby. I have many times seen Senior Managers taking with them the outright performers, while leaving the loyal "ok performers" behind.

Fully agree with the above. I see the whole loyalty issue as a chain to the top, which can be broken at any point along the way. If you sum up the options as either:

A. leave for more $$$, thereby not being 'loyal';

or

B. stay and be 'loyal' to the chain you report to

then it would make more sense to become more loyal as you move up the chain, as there are less links which can break as a result in the chain.

The huge caveat to all this however, is that the immediate link above you in the chain has to subscribe to the same thought process of loyalty or $$$ to a level whereby their seniority means they can/will take others with them, AND they have to be senior enough to matter, otherwise this all becomes a fallacy.

Example 1:

Grad (loyal) --- Snr Associate (Loyal) --- Manager (leave for $$$) ---///---

The above chain is broken from the manager point, at a level where it doesn't really matter because the manager has probably not built up enough of a kudos to both convince those to leave under him or at the new place to make room for them. In this case, if you are under the manager, it doesn't really make sense to be loyal to this person specifically and definitely no sense to pass up any opportunities for you to take the $$$ as you have effectively been loyal to the wrong person.

Example 2:

Grad (loyal) --- Snr Associate (loyal) --- Manager (loyal) --- Snr Manager (leave for $$$) --- Director (leave for $$$) ---///---

The above chain is broken from the snr manager/director point, where they could be moving onto a more senior role elsewhere and could potentially take you with them, but only if you subscribe to the same loyalty/$$$ as they do. HOWEVER, the chance they will take you depends on various factors discussed elsewhere in the thread, but also how close you are to their grade, as they will want to bring you up through the organisation, enabling them to backfill the space they have left behind.

Bottom line, at grad level, junior level, even manager level it seems a little pointless to be loyal to either an individual or an organisation and pass up opportunities because the level above you probably won't take you.

Therefore, loyalty should increase proportionately to the more senior you get, again assuming you have chosen the right person to be loyal to, and that they are on the same wavelength as you!

Phew! Apologies for the VERY long-winded way of saying all that!

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#14 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
12/03/2014 16:41

marsday to Freezing (#13)

In my experience, loyalty exists precisely as long in one's career where independent, external validation of one's values and value are required. As soon as someone reaches a point where their own value validation comes from what they directly influence/control, the concept of loyalty shifts from loyalty externally to loyalty internally. £$ actually rarely proves a deciding factor in why someone moves later in their career, usually it's about what they can/cannot influence/control and therefore maintain self-validation of values.

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#15 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
13/03/2014 08:37

TheGraduate to marsday (#14)

Well that certainly caused more of a stir than I expected, but it was great to read contrasting views on what loyalty is. Would it be more accurate to say that commitment to a firm during your time there is of higher importance, to secure good networks?

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#16 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
13/03/2014 13:28

Tacitus1 to TheGraduate (#15)

I wouldn't say loyalty to the firm gets you anywhere in particular - I think you need to erase that from your mind.

Who do you think you would be showing loyalty to? The brand? The shareholders? Neither of which give two hoots about you and loyalty. Make the top guys money however, and you will benefit.

Commitment to certain individuals, building good networks and showing loyalty to the smart guys going places will certainly set you in good stead.

Bottom line is, you have to be bl00dy good at what you do. Without that, frankly, no-one could give a sh*t if an individual has been at a company for 1 or 20 years.

Excuse my french.

Tacitus1

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#17 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
13/03/2014 14:31

marsday to Tacitus1 (#16)

It derails the debate to bring in concepts of brand or shareholders. Brand is an entirely fabricated concept independent of the individuals, shareholders (so I assume we are talking about public companies) don't sit in the business hence have no concept of individuals within it and therefore no concept of loyalty.

What I see daily is that the idea of loyalty to a company has been replaced by a looser, more contemporary loyalty to an agenda (make money, be ethical, protect the environment or whatever) and people now - at least the younger ones - get this instinctively. Loyalty is no longer there to be assumed but neither can it be purchased. It has become more fluid and changes, much more like a relationship than a marriage now.

the sooner we debunk this aged notion that loyalty = concept of job for life the sooner we can move this debate along a bit.

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#18 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
13/03/2014 15:59

Tacitus1 to marsday (#17)

Mars - don't get me wrong, I would like to think I am on the same page as you.

My question was merely around who people believe their 'loyalty' exists with in the corporate world? If, as you say, the brand and shareholders (public companies) are out of the equation then where would ones 'loyalty' be directed at? Seemingly an individual (or group of individuals) seeing as it cannot be the actual company you are working for.

I personally do not think it exists at all in this day and age as a way to progress or be rewarded. It's a fickle world we live in.

Money talks and people move - each with their own agenda.

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#19 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
15/03/2014 09:24

Defence88 to Tacitus1 (#18)

I think loyalty does exist, even to firms, but depends on a large extent on the structure of the firm. I work for a niche firm, that is organised as an EBT (Employee Benefit Trust). Therefore as long as the staff remain in the employ of the company, they are a shareholder, and an oversight committee that is not part of the EBT ensures decisions taken are in the best interest of the shareholders (the staff). It's incredible the level of loyalty at this firm in comparison to my previous company which was a CAC 40.

However showing loyalty to the firm does not in anyway improve your advancement/promotion, as merit and talent are the key things here.

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#20 RE: Does loyalty exist within consultancy?
14/04/2014 02:52

BMGIIndia to Defence88 (#19)

it is not possible for the professional business consultants dealing with global clientele to work upon only for one project at one time. Business management consultants work on several projects simultaneously. Linking loyalty with the services is a good safe guarding thought but i think that true professionals keep the barriers of secrecy and safety intact.

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