Are consultants full of shit? Or are they awesome and useful?

Write up of Bizniz Salon #1 — a new online discussion series about doing business better, by Jim Ralley & Andy Young.

Salons are an invention of the 17th Century, in which inspiring hosts would curate events where the goal was to exchange ideas and increase the knowledge of the participants, through conversation.

Salons are also where you go to get your hair cut. But that’s not the kind of show we’re running here.

The Bizniz Salon is a monthly online discussion series curated by me and Andy. We want to bring the kinds of discussions about business that we have in pubs, on trains, and on WhatsApp, out into the open. To broaden our views and opinions, and to get some awesome discussions going around topics that matter.

On Wednesday 02nd May we discussed

Are consultants full of shit? Or are they awesome and useful?

We started with some short provocations, one on each side of the argument. Then broke the participants into two discussion groups for 20 mins. We came back together for the final 30 mins to synthesise our thoughts and explore the topic further.

You can watch the discussion on YouTube and listen on Soundcloud. See the links at the bottom of this article.

The key things we took away from the conversation

  • There are fundamental differences between the big consultancies (McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, PwC, etc) and the kinds of people who were in the discussion. This idea of getting paid millions of dollars to submit a powerpoint then fucking off, was pretty alien to most of us.
  • Consulting is definitely considered a dirty word by many people, but it’s a valuable service and that’s why clients continue to rely on and pay for consultants. We shouldn’t forget the value we bring, even if the job title makes us feel like snake oil salespeople.
  • We should write an indie consultants manifesto, that lays out the key differences between ‘old school’ consulting and the kind that the participants all aspired to. Perhaps it could be something like
  • Bad consulting is about nurturing dependence or shirking responsibility for implementation. Good consulting is about building strong partnerships and supporting implementation and change.

Help us come up with the next discussion question, and join the post-show debate on our Facebook group:

  • 1st August 2018
  • Work