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The disposable consultant



The Mafia have known for years that some people are expendable.  You want something done with high risk? Send someone who you don’t mind losing. The military of course had cannon fodder…the people it was accepted that were likely to die. Businesses? Well we have consultants.

Difficult project or programme? Something high risk? A job to be done on someone or something?

Get a consultant.

Then when it all goes badly, as it inevitably will (because you don’t know what you’re doing and neither do they), you blame it on them, turf them out and move on to the next one. Simple.

And of course on the back of this the consultant gets their pound of flesh, they articulate the value that they added and go on to fleece work with the next client.

There is no value add. There is no upside. There is no win-win.

There is only the pointless fuckwittery of the onward march of the idiot HRD and his best friend the disposable consultant.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/13/2011 10:45

    I know you love a reaction. I had several. At first I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or punch someone in the face. I’ve decided to go for laugh.

    So in that spirit (and this must be said in a vampire voice of course…)

    “I vant to suck your blooooooood”

    See me after school

  2. Peter Gold permalink
    01/13/2011 10:47


    You clearly pick the wrong consultants. So many of us work with lovely HRD’s that really appreciate our knowledge and expertise in:

    * How to tell the time.
    * How to use a watch.
    * How to sign cheques with lots of zero’s.
    * How to explain the value we bring.

    I could go on but it would be lost on you……..


    • 01/13/2011 10:53

      I think you mean “Borrow your watch, charge you to tell the time, then go home with the watch”.

      Thanks for this one Theo – feels like it answers one of my recent comments 😉

  3. BJH permalink
    01/13/2011 12:37

    Hmmm … I’m not sure I totally agree with this (which surprises me as I usually do agree with your thoughts).

    Maybe I’ve been lucky. There are some times when you need an expert and don’t have one in house. In my previous company we used consultants in this capacity from time to time very successfully. We often worked with the consultant to train at least one person in-house, so we then developed that expertise within.

    I’ve just re-read your original post, and realised you may only be talking about consultants brought in to handle the messy jobs, rather than being critical of all consultants in all circumstances. In which case I have seen other organisations where this approach was used – but personally have had more good experiences with consultants than bad.

    Maybe I’m a little biased as some of past colleagues have now gone into consultancy too.

  4. 01/13/2011 13:20

    i’m not feeling the love this morning.

  5. 01/13/2011 13:32

    I’m with you… of the things I do when asked to take on a contract is to find out how messy it really is. Because, despite the pay, it’s not worth the emotional or mental effort that comes with these types of jobs.

  6. 01/14/2011 08:11

    New Year greetings from the bin.

    Ouch! Was that a passing HRD kicking my head in?

  7. david permalink
    01/14/2011 11:13

    Great to see a piece about the idiocy of managers rather than flaming of consultants!

    Seriously, as with coaching, perception plays a part but the biggest issues I find are always related to ineffective consultants, managers and programmes of work.

    However, a good consultant will demonstrate their value, critique the intended work and support you as manager to demonstrate your joint effectiveness and success. This isn’t consultant-speak. It’s integrity, values and work ethic. Where any of these are lacking – watch out.

    BTW Doug Shaws blog in response is spot on For me creative problem solving in the face of uncertainty or even adversity is the lifeblood of business. Without this work is just work.

  8. 01/18/2011 08:57

    @Doug Shaw – Great post you wrote in response Doug. Really liked it…..just didn’t agree! 🙂

    @Peter Gold – Haha….indeed….

    @James Mayes – You ask the Qs I’ll give the vented spleen response…..

    @BJH – Feel free to disagree….this is a broad church! 🙂

    @fran melmed – I’m a lover….not a hater…..honest!

    @karencwise – Wise in name and in nature….

    @Henry – Clearly there are always exceptions to the rule……whether you are or aren’t one is debatable! 🙂 Beer…..soon!!

    @david – I believe both parties are responsible….and yes, great post by Doug.

  9. 01/20/2011 20:23

    Thanks for liking it and for not agreeing. Agreement ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be eh?

  10. Sean Trainor permalink
    01/20/2011 21:59

    Just goes to show that most HRDs are shit at recruitment.

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