Think of a management consultant, and flashes before the eyes – a blazing image of a C-suited sharp-witted super human no less than a knight rider in shining armor, who ventures into the scene as a savior, and renders massive synergy to the organization at all the fronts where it had been failing, and sails it through the entire canyon of obstacles.
Hold on! That’s the impression usually failing organizations carry about management consultants, hoping to be sailed through the troubled waters. That’s not just one impression about them, there are lot more, what we’ll refer to as chaotic opposite.
Of course, management consultants consult their way to take businesses on front-stage to perform, dissolving all the obstacles that come in the way, innovating better ways of carrying business processes. They offer services across all business areas, from HR to IT, marketing to finance. Yet, some conservative corporates developed an image about them leading to hiding sneers and raised brows by many pondering “why management consulting?”
Call it their bad experience or corporate conservatism, there are some perceptions that have cast a spell over the image of management consultants, which needs to be dispelled!
Let’s learn about some astonishing myths associated with management consultants, that you may even relate with – both as a consultant and an organization.
He came, met the Boss, and left!
That’s the most common perception people carry about management consultants. They think that they work only with the CEOs! That may be right for many projects but does not mean, happens every time.
Management consultants deal with CEOs of organizations but quite often, work with Vice Presidents and manager-level executives too, on routine basis. Of course, they have really high-profile network. In fact, in some companies that are yet to establish, they shake hands even with no great shakes of today who though become the chief executives in future, eventually adding to their contact list of noted achievers.
Yes, management consultants travel a lot! Well, frequent travellers for business objectives may be mistaken for leading a great lifestyle – flying in business class to avant-garde locations, savoring gourmet meals, and checking-in worth a king’s ransom hotels.
What a perfect life, isn’t it!
Well, the reality speaks of something that has really nothing to do with all these imaginations. The management consultants who travel quite often to attend back to back meetings, do that at the expense of their organized routine and lot of family time. To meet tough targets on strict deadlines, they manage with long working hours that leave their minds boggling over various critical matters that they might have discussed with the management of the client organization they had been working for.
They constantly stay under pressure to deliver. Mostly weekends are the times when they get back home only to meet the family requirements, trying to patch up for the lost commitments.
They may be visiting exotic locations, but with the client, hardly to notice any scenic beauty, and that makes all the difference. To prepare themselves for the next meeting or presentation scheduled to be conducted real soon, they feel like running out of time all the time. No matter how fancy, the hotel they may be staying in, the enormous amount of workload and accountability makes them just reach to the hotel room in wee hours and crash on the bed, only to wake up to another day of challenges.
Not to miss, it may not be the luxurious abodes for them every time as it all depends upon where the client is based, and wishes to meet – it may even be a 2-star hotel in a small town!
Many firms believe that the management consultants provide what they already knew.
The fact is, as soon as a management consulting firm engages with the client firm, it first invests its significant amount of time in understanding the business processes. The industry may be familiar but owing to different operational standards of every company, it becomes inevitable for the consultants to get familiar with the unique ways of processing by the company too.
Their major job commences only with the firm’s nod over their reports pertaining to their understanding, presented to them. Understanding the processes, identifying the problem areas, and resolving the challenges, are the major objectives of management consultants, with the key objective being the added value to the business, which usually remains unseen by employees of the firm.
All they see is the firm’s gratuitous step that is leading to nowhere.
A management consultant performs lot of research and analytics to identify the factors that may open the gateway to opportunities for organizations, by improving their processes. Once they determine the same, they give formal presentations that comprises of all the data in the form of graphs and charts, along with a separate doc of recommendations that the client organization needs to implement and the associated cost.
Some client organizations implement these recommendations completely or partially, while some just keep the recommendation file in the shelf, due to various limitations and reservations regarding their implementation. Mostly the clients take a back seat after realizing the cost of implementation and not finding it ‘practical,’ and as the time passes by, they don’t even think about it.
Those who consider these recommendations compromise on the scope of improvement to minimize the cost, and that’s how what is intended, stays far from becoming a reality.
A management consultant can only provide ‘consultation’ and not implement what is required just like a doctor, who can explain you about dos and don’ts for your health, prescribe you the medicines, but cannot force you to do what is required.
So be them the doctor or a management consultant, blaming them about the miseries is certainly not right, for they can only advise, and not undertake them.
That’s the complaint usually by the permanent employees of the client company against management consultants, who find the cost of consultation which is on hourly basis, quite hefty. They forget about the fixed amount a regular employee gets paid forever, even while they are on leave, apart from medical insurance.
Whereas, the consultant does not get paid, in case takes even a small break. Once the project is over, they bid adieu.
So, logically that ‘exorbitant’ hourly cost of consultation gets on the same pane, or may be on reversed ones, owing to the value-add offered by the consultant in the end, which may not be promised by the hireling.
There might arise other thoughts such as whether to trust a consultant who carries more knowledge than you, as they may act ‘smart’ enough to make you spend more. Well, there has to be some level of trust that you need to develop while assessing all that they would be doing for your business. In fact, the right person would maintain transparency with you by explaining about all the costs and risks associated, and would give you ample space and time to think over and take your own decision, or at least share your concern.
These myths may still seem to be the fact to some as even a few exceptions carry the ability to damage the reputation of one and all. To stay in the industry and lead, mostly the consultants stay on the mission to provide value-add to the businesses with their commitment, resilience, and the ability to instil changes for good, and deliver measurable results within a specific timeline.
Tarika Technologies offers value-driven management consulting services to transform the way organizations function, looking for growth. Our management consulting solutions are created in alignment with business strategies, goals and objectives of the organizations, and help them in optimizing their business operations.