This is just one of the ways big consulting companies entice desperate and naive CEOs. Once they take the bait, they are practically hooked for life!
This approach, I not only consider immoral and unethical but even boarding on criminal. Yes, criminal, as defined by Webster dictionary: relating to, involving, or being a crime. And crime is defined as something reprehensible, foolish or disgraceful. Well, their approach is certainly reprehensible and disgraceful, but not foolish at all. To the contrary, it’s rather quite clever!
They entice you with a catchy title:
“The five unconventional acts of leadership”
Then, they support their statement with names of reputable companies to substantiate their position:
“Amazon, Frito-Lay, Starbucks, and other consistently successful companies use these practices to align everything they do around building value.”
And then, they offer you, completely free of charge, their incredibly “wise” and “valuable” set of ‘unconventional acts of leadership:’
1. Commit to an identity — Use your capabilities system and offerings to express what your company does exceptionally well and why it matters.
2. Translate the strategic into the everyday — Build a few powerful cross-functional capabilities to deliver on your value proposition and set your company apart from competitors.
3. Put your culture to work — Leverage and enhance shared behaviors and values to execute on your strategy.
4. Cut costs to grow stronger — Manage costs so that you focus investments on the capabilities that matter.
5. Shape your future — Keep reimagining your capabilities, create renewed customer demand, and realign your industry around your company.”
Of course, any CEO would have to agree with at least one, if not all, of these points (Each one of these points has been deliberately thought through to get you hooked).
So, once they have you hooked by agreeing to their obvious points, they start reeling you in by offering further free advice on how you should handle each and every one of these issues in the most intelligent, efficient, and practical way.
They make sure to cover many complex issues under each of the five points to ascertain that you feel overwhelmed and end up deciding to give them a call and ask for their guidance. And here is where the milking of your business begins.
Don’t fall prey. Yes, these issues are complex, but nobody, especially no “expert” with zero skin in the game, can know more about the work being done than those with skin in the game and who have been doing the work and have to deal with it on a daily basis!
As John Gapper puts it “consultants become a habit — once they get inside the building, they are hard to eradicate. They have an interest in keeping the relationship going, either by persuading clients that the challenges are complex, or by selling them more services.”
This is my free advice that I’m passing on to you from those who passed it on to me: Harness the collective wisdom of your people by creating an organizational environment conducive to ideal-seeking behavior!
JC Wandemberg Ph.D.
President & Founder
About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.