by Peter Parkes


In 2006, the Management Consultancies Association held its 50th anniversary. Consultancy is now a multi-billion pound industry, built on the value proposition that strategic advice can save us from having to learn all the lessons ourselves, and thus deliver change quicker and with less risk.

There was a backlash against the use of consultants at the start of the new millennium. Some buyers were bringing in consultants and then abdicating responsibility rather than delegating it; also, the bigger consultancies were accused of providing ‘one size fits all’ advice that did not lead to meaningful engagement between consultant and customer. Another criticism has been that consultants deliver a PowerPoint presentation to the board and then walk away to leave managers, who have been excluded from the consultancy engagement, to fail in the delivery.

None of these problems can be solved from one side only, but these and other pitfalls can be effectively managed using the tips and ideas described here.