consultant

Let’s lament the death of the business maverick

There’s no doubt that we are in need of more business non-conformists. The lone maverick who had more ideas than the over-priced management consultants. In this post I lament the passing of these talented individuals.

The once vibrant management consultancy business is in trouble.

… the primary concern of management consultancies is “landing and expanding”–not actually solving the problems at hand.

Cynicism around consulting is nothing new. That adage about a consultant “borrowing your watch to tell you the time” didn’t come from nowhere. But the problem is now stark. According to research by McKinsey, 70% of transformations fail.

Naturally, most industries go through a rough patches. But it looks like firms have started to work out that many consultants are not worth the money.

The reasons?

One of the main reasons is that consultants overhype problems. They do this to generate fees and sell too much half-baked management waffle. At their best, consultants can introduce a refreshing perspective. They can drive through changes that might otherwise have proved impossible. But lots of consultancy firms have been selling average, self-interested products at excessive prices. Presumably, they’ll blame external factors if revenues decline. But the real culprit is much closer to home; no more business mavericks.

A maverick solution

What we really require are mavericks. These are the people who have strong convictions and challenge the status quo. But sadly we are not seeing them.

Take the music industry for example. It’s not that you’re getting elderly: songs really are more formulaic than they used to be. The big record labels crunch data to establish the ingredients of a successful track. And they have got far slicker at replicating them. No need for creativity or intuition. Management science and data analytics will inform them exactly what works.

And it was the same story, at least until recently, with politics. The mavericks disappeared. What we had left was the middle-of-the road politicians who then became dominant. The trouble with this standardisation is that it makes things bland. It makes things predictable, with little or no variation. Therefore, I for one lament the death of the lone non-conformist: RIP.

What do you think? Leave a comment below:

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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