The ANALyst

Leverage, optimise, synergise


Consultants are often hated by the clients. Now I am not talking about the CXO level people but the ones below them. It’s true – either we exist to deliver bad news or we exist to mess up their comfortable existence with our “best practice.”

These aren’t exactly my words, but those of the engagement manager for one of the projects I worked on last year. Above engagment manager felt he wanted to change the perception the client had of consultants by “working with them and being inclusive”. This was a short six week needs assessment project for the client’s supply chain system. To show “inclusiveness” the EM decided to invite mid-level managers from all the business units to comment on our preliminary ideas (do not ask me why). Why exactly the call centre manager needs to know about needs assessment for supply chain is beyond me. So I decided to shut up and watch the fun.

Scene – One of the boardrooms at the upper floors of the corporate headquarters. Beautiful 19th century furnishings, paintings that I assume cost above a million dollars each and a view to die for. The room is immaculately set up for thirty people – in board room format. At the end of the table with the city skyline as the backdrop is seated the CEO. To his right are the CFO and the COO. To his left, the engagement Partner, EM and the three of us that make up the consulting team. The rest of the table is filled with departments heads and mid level managers from the business units.

Time – 830 am

CEO: (condensed version) Thank you all for coming in. As you know Project XXX is critical to our organisation. By revamping our supply chain system, we hope to achieve massive gains in efficiency and save X million dollars a year. Project XXX team have worked on a needs assessment for the organisation and has come up with preliminary recommendations which we would like to discuss with you and get your opinion on. So without further ado, I hand you over to EM.

EM: (Tries to repeat exactly the same thing that the CEO has just said)

He is interrupted by one of the middle level managers (MLM 1).

MLM1: Why the f**k are we in this meetin again? What am I to do with your supply chain systems???

MLM2: This is a waste of our time!!! (Looks at the CEO) You will get a lot more efficiency out of us if you stopped calling us to stupid meetings of this nature.

MLM1 and 2 walk out of the meeting room, followed my most of the remaining mid levels. Our EM is left standing, looking totally stunned. CEO (with a smirk) offers a glass of water to EM, who at this point is shaking.

8 40 am – Meeting over.

Inclusiveness – Yeah right!!!

July 16, 2009 - Posted by | Consulting


  1. Did:

    A. The CEO sack MLMs for dissent and arrogance?
    B. The EM persuade the CEO to buy more of his services?
    C. The analyst spread the story round the EM openly wept like a baby?

    Comment by Doctor Baloney | July 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Good Question

      A. No. Said MLMs have been in the organisation for donkey’s years and have made themselves pretty hard to replace. Also dissent wasn’t shown to the CEO directly, but to the consulting team. And organisation is heavily unionised too. So nothing is happening to them.

      B. This was one of the firms “long-term” clients – the type that keep providing you with an endless supply of largely meaningless work, whatever the enviroenment. But then again being one of those organisations with a rather unique service they can afford to do what they like.

      C. The ANALyst was largely well behaved. Story was not divulged within the firm – not by The ANALyst atleast. However, The ANALyst did have the following conversation with the EM

      EM: (After the meeting) So how did you think it went?
      ANALyst: Hmmm, par for the course!!!

      Comment by banalyst | July 18, 2009 | Reply

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