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How will consulting change?

March 21, 2009

My first post. Don’t know too much about blogging protocol, so don’t know if I should even be marking my first post like this. But hey, you got to hang loose!

Have been staring at the screen waiting for some inspiration to strike which will help me kick off my journey into the new world (for me) of blogging. I believe Iranians are extremely prolific bloggers! Was surprised to read about that one!

I came across a poll on LinkedIn about the future of consulting and it triggered some thoughts which inspired me to begin writing.

Here’s what the poll asked:
Will the consulting industry change in the next few years?

Yes, lower prices
Yes, new services
Yes, focus on strategy
Yes, focus on operations
No, same business models

And you could only pick one option, so I kind of couldn’t answer it because I think my answer is almost all of the above.

The way things are going, there will be a greater focus on Operational Efficiency, so existing and newer services in that area will pick up.

At the same time, clients will demand higher levels of accountability from consultants to deliver to objectives as well as pressure to deliver within time and costs agreed. My sense is we will see clients demanding a variable component linked to deliverables/output. And this is something good for the consulting industry, since it will push us to deliver more on the ball.

Just as industry in general is getting operationally efficient, consulting will have to do the same. We’re part of the value chain and clients will pressure us to deliver more value for less.

The other area where I see huge investments of time and money coming in, are building organization culture and capability in the area of change. Organizations will realize, more than ever before, the need to be agile, flexible, scale up/down rapidly, respond quickly to change.

Management styles, organization structures and Leadership paradigms will have to go through a rethink. The present management paradigms which evolved in the early 20th century don’t hold true for a variety of reasons. Here’s a link to an article by Gary Hamel about the Three forces that will transform Management. Very interesting reading!

http://whatmatters.mckinseydigital.com/organization/three-forces-that-will-transform-management

Lastly, when CEOs are flying coach, consultants will need to take a hard look at their own charge-sheets and expense accounts to ensure that they are truly partnering and this is where value congruence between consulting firms and their clients is going to become very important.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nupur Bhandari permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:13 pm

    Hello Mr. Singh,

    As a masters student of HR, I have only begun to learn and think about OD. Unfortunately grad schools have almost no courses or discussions on OD. I quench my thirst for knowledge on this particular subject and business in general from the WWW.

    I am glad experienced professionals like yourself and Mr. Gautam Ghosh, choose to blog. You’ll teach without realizing who is learning. I read ‘White Spaces’ everyday , a link to your blog brought me here.

    A very interesting read. Awaiting many more entries.

    Nupur Bhandari

    • gurprrietsiingh permalink*
      March 25, 2009 11:59 am

      Hi Nupur

      I couldn’t agree more. I am appalled at the lack of information and education available on OD in premiere campuses. Hence I decided to do something about it.

      I actively answer questions about OD on LinkedIn. I do sessions on OD at campuses. The last one was at MDI.

      And now I have started this blog, so I can share my knowledge and experience in differents ways.

      Your comment is very encouraging and spurs me to continue my efforts! Keep visiting!

  2. naveen permalink
    March 22, 2009 5:39 pm

    Really good one. I think present consulting model was founded on following premises. These are the way to extinction

    1. Capitalism that thrives on cosumption and unequitable distribiution of wealth.
    2. Industrial and Manufacturing model of the west that thrives on exploitation mother earth’resources.
    3. Primarly based on western society.

    Consulting world has so far has been proponents of this premises

    If Consulting world has to really make visible contribution to the business world then it has to show the business to changes its basic premises. Eastern life philosophy would be more relavant in coming century.It’s premises are the new paradims on which new business models would emerege.

    1. Exploitation of the resources for necessity, not for luxury.
    2. More equitable distribution of wealth.
    3. Go back to ancient history of India and its values to adjust the modern business models.

  3. March 22, 2009 12:06 pm

    great post.

    Welcome to the blogosphere!

    • gurprrietsiingh permalink*
      March 22, 2009 12:20 pm

      Thanks Gautam. You’re my inspiration for doing this, you know. How strange that we have still never met! And yet, how not strange. This is the power of the web and the coming future. Relationships built on respect and mutuality. No prejudice about race, color, look, feel etc. All of which play a large role in potentially fruitful relationships NOT developing!

  4. March 22, 2009 10:36 am

    “CEOs are flying COACH”
    ————————-

    I have always wondered how come spending patterns are so widely different between travelling on your own money and travelling on an expense account? What would happen if executives were given the option to use the full fledged expense account or to take home any money they could save? Would us NON-CEOs stay at outrageously expensive hotels? Is it really about CORPORATE IMAGE as people would have us believe?

    • gurprrietsiingh permalink*
      March 22, 2009 11:12 am

      Valid point Mathai. These things become the trappings of corporate/consulting life. A lot of us “expect” them as due. If left to travel on our own money, we made the same choices, then to my mind, it’s justifiable.

      I once worked for a company that had some interesting policies. They were committed to ensuring we travelled and lived either equal to or one level higher than what we would personally. This was their way of respecting us for all the travel and time away from family which we spent. The other option they offered was, if you chose to fly coach instead of business, you could claim half the difference as cash. This was win win as both company and individual benefited.

      The present scenario will lead to a lot of relooks at spending and corporate must-haves versus need-to-haves. Invest in budget hotels and airlines! šŸ˜‰

  5. March 21, 2009 6:51 pm

    Hi! Gurprriet,

    Welcome to the World of blogging.

    Indeed consultancy as an industry and area is going to face some challenging times in the present World.

    Will look forward to your posts from now on.

    regards,

    kaushik

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