Why do we need business consultants

Guest PostWhy management consultants are superfluous

It's not like we didn't know about anything. For years, even decades, research has published studies according to which many consulting projects fail, millions are burned and companies are sometimes advised into the abyss. Every now and then a scandal pops up that is good for the mainstream, like the current din about the consulting contracts of the Federal Ministry of Defense.

These are all just journalistic tips of an iceberg that make a long-held suspicion a certainty: Management consulting is "fundamentally broken", irreparably broken. The trendy chichi of chic suits, elitist paintwork and veritable gossip of language (“We have to deliver now, otherwise we won't get benchmarked for the asset”) is convincing fewer and fewer companies and is increasingly becoming a caricature of itself. And the consultants know that. In their distress they try to hijack trendy buzzwords like “New Work” or “Agility”, but the business administration schema thinking remains the same and thus leads to the same mistakes over and over again.

Counselor Deadly Sins: Benchmarking, Learning Disability, and Under-Complexity

Let's start with the obvious. Management consultancies are still trying today to bring tools such as benchmarking or best practices to the people. This is part of their business model, because only when a benchmark is issued can the consultancy present the way in which it is supposed to be reached. But benchmarks are backward-looking, one-dimensional, encourage conformist thinking and blind people to original solutions. Benchmarks and the innovation so often invoked, for example, are therefore mutually exclusive.

In addition, consultants prevent organizational learning. In terms of their business model, this is actually their core task: to shorten from a problem to a solution without the customer company being able to achieve a learning achievement - and thus remaining dependent on advice. Did you know that two thirds of all consulting assignments are follow-up assignments? The consultations have absolutely no interest in making you as a customer competent and independent. You don't butcher the goose that lays golden eggs.

Third, schematic solutions from consultants do less and less justice to the complex reality of companies. Consultants are never objective, but of course have a consulting ideology and a special customer worldview in mind. Their alleged objectivity belongs to the realm of the imagination as image building. But ideology and worldview prevent humility from the unique situation of the customer, who has long been living in a VUCA world: in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.