Specialization in business and management disciplines has led to disconnected advice and increased risk for the business owner and executive. Seeking specialized advice is logical for increasingly complex problems.
Corporate restructuring, M&A, competitive intelligence, strategy, new product development, and process reengineering. One thing required for success that they all share is the need for the best and brightest.
Consulting firms are (in)famous for developing new theories of management, analytic approaches to performance or taxonomies for describing the newest or best consulting strategies. Some are truly insightful, others are old wine in new bottles.
A management consultant is rarely a business’ only source of advice. Usually other consultants—lawyers, accountants, vendors, etc.—are working for the same client. When one of those advisers says something unprofessional or withholds information helpful to another’s work, this is both a practical and an ethical problem.
There is no shortage of advisors, with lots of experience and education, and an ever-expanding toolset. But what is often missing is the spirit through which advice is given.
It’s far too easy to hide behind jargon or consultant-speak or to expound on management theories that clients aren’t familiar with. Advisors use jargon because it’s easy. It’s a shortcut. It’s much harder to explain something in a way you know people will understand.
Every business regularly, often visibly, experiences ethical failures. Whether due to lapses of judgment or willful fraud, these events can have legal, financial, reputational, or even existential impact.
If you read business management journals, you’d be forgiven for believing that the best ideas on management come from academia or consulting firms. What used to be the province of executives reporting on business results has become a place for “emerging” management ideas.
By definition the knowledge economy means more people are in need of advice. So too are people required to give that advice. For advice itself to be effective, however, both the receiver and giver need specific skills.
Intangibles have come to dominate corporate value. Land, labor and capital are declining in importance. Fast growing companies rely on business models, designs, patents, relationships and intellectual property more than bricks and mortar.