Management consulting: How to get/give the maximum benefit Posted on April 30, 2020May 4, 2021 by highbridgeacademy Management consultant? A company buying such services? Either way, to achieve the best results, check out the 8 components of success here. The latest estimate is that globally, companies paid roughly 285 billion U.S. dollars for management consulting services in 2019. Did they all get their money’s worth? An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that many did not. The article’s author, Arthur N. Turner has experience in this field as a consultant, as a supervisor to consultants, and as a result of interactions with other consultants. In addition, Turner has done research on what effective consulting actually means. Turner proposes that the key to a successful management consulting relationship is clarity of purpose. His article gives a framework for achieving this. How to achieve clarity of purpose Similar to the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, Turner informs that the successful management consulting partnership is a hierarchy of eight purposes or mini goals. Purpose/Goal #1 forms the base of the pyramid, the starting point, with purpose/goal #8 being the top of the pyramid, the ultimate goal. To paraphrase Turner’s words, these purposes/goals are: Making a permanent improvement to the effectiveness of the organization. Facilitating client learning—in other words, empowering the client with tools for future problem resolution. Constructing a consensus and commitment around corrective action. Assisting the client in implementing the recommended solutions. Recommending as needed based on the diagnosis. Making a diagnosis—may necessitate redefinition of the problem. Finding solutions to the client’s problems. Giving information to the client. Turner suggests that not all of these purposes are regularly addressed. He states that, in general, purposes 1-4 are considered “legitimate functions.” As a result, most consultants will achieve these goals. Purpose 5 is somewhat controversial, so it is at this point that the chain begins to break down. The last three purposes/goals (6-8) are mostly overlooked for two reasons: many consultants do not address them directly, and clients do not know enough about the management consulting process to ask for them. Yet, it is these final three purposes which are essential for the management consulting relationship to have maximum benefit. Turner suggests that the “sophistication and skill” of the parties involved is the main reason these last three vital goals are not usually achieved. In other words, the consultants themselves may not have the expertise, and the clients may not have the knowledge. In a bid to empower both consultants and clients, Turner’s article then discusses each of these purposes/goals in detail. Each discussion further defines the goal and gives suggestions/tips for how it can be achieved, as well as important cautions for what not to do. Why is this knowledge important? An article in the UK Financial Times online reports that more than 60 years on, the conclusion of their 1961 report about effective consultancy still holds: “the best test of a consultant’s worth is their performance.” This conclusion is especially relevant in view of the upheaval taking place in this industry at the moment. This CEO World website item indicates that management consulting companies which have not innovated and/or evolved are beginning to feel pressure. There appear to be two main, global scale reasons driving this change to the status quo: “the gig economy and the rising popularity of crowdsourcing as a feasible alternative to small and finite groups of professionals.” (source) The final conclusion? If you are a management consultant, it would be wise to assess your methodologies, bringing them in line with today’s market needs and expectations. If you are a company intending to purchase management consultancy, educate yourself as to what you are entitled to and how this can be best achieved. In both cases, you may wish to read more here.