Tales of workplace ineptitude

I started up a reply to this post in the Politics thread but figured it warrants it’s own containment area

My general experience vis a vie consulting is that it is an entire industry based on mindless shuffling around of wealth in order to make a bunch of MBAs feel good about contributing nothing at all to the world.

My specific experience - I’m a project manager for a very small organisation (volunteer run, one other full timer and one casual staff) working on a government funded program. Part of the deal involves me sitting down with a consultancy firm once a quarter to review the strategies I’m using. First meeting of this year, they explain to me that [strategy X] is not effective because [MICROSOFT EXCEL FUELLED GARBAGE BLAH BLAH BLAH] and costs too much. Yeah I know, but it works in terms of the project objectives and I am spending less than 10% of the rest of the budget because I’m a clever and resourceful motherfker. They win out. Ok fine, [strategy X] gone.

Next meeting. Project objectives are 3 months behind because guess why. They’ve got the answer they say. Lay it on me, says me. They then present [strategy X] with words rearranged. “Uh… that’s literally [strategy X] and you told me to abandon it three months ago.” Oh did we? Huh. Well we think [strategy X] is definitely going to get you results.

I’m torn between burning down the entire sector, or getting myself a ticket on the gravy train and coming to terms with it ethically.


lol I think you just summed up perfectly how consulting works-rebadge and reword. I’ve worked as a consultant and was advised early on “give the client what they want to hear”. lmfao. clients hire you to provide correct advice but by doing this you risk giving answers a client may not want to hear and as a result you risk losing future contracts. So tell them what they want to hear so they think you’ve assisted them and provided them with good advice and value for money.

On one project I worked on I kid you not a consultant from P_C wrote a 30 page report that literally reframed the problem and the solution was if you have a solution to this problem there will no longer be a problem. Genius. I no longer work in consulting.

Did they give you a slide deck?

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yes they did and they spoke to it because it was high level


You stole the title of my autobiography…

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The flip side, as exerienced through a decade of providing honest (but I would say that, wouldn’t I?) consultancy, is that many people stop hiring you if you tell them how stupid they actually are.

There is no correlation between the price of advice and willingness to act upon it.


Wha? What did I miss??

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But isn’t good consultancy about providing options and recommendations to solve a problem or achieve an outcome that a client is struggling with? whether they take your advise is their prerogative. my gut feel is that many consultants are out of their depth but are good at BS. They just take your problem and apply a very lay solution when in fact specialist knowledge or skills are needed.

A few years ago I came to terms with the fact that by having the immense amount of privilege that I do, that I would never really be able to understand why words on a screen/page can “trigger” people into emotional and visceral reactions.

However I now feel that after reading your post I may yet be able to have some personal insight.

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Completely agree.

There needs to be some sort of protocol in the tender process that conveys “nah for real I’m ready to listen”

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Whenever I engage consultants I need to specify I want a written report of xx pages, executive summary and written in plain English. Otherwise I’ll get off the shelf bullshit slides that say and mean nothing.


well managed.

Oh yes, I was being moderately flippant.

Consultancy should take out the stupid from processes. There are a lot of folks out there that want to hear only what they already believe, which generally is what has gotten them to the point that they need help. Tell them that there are alternatives and they feel insulted. I worked almost exclusively with people who had been very successful in former roles who were transitioning to business ownership. Some of them could not be told. Nor could they be guided, encouraged, or assisted.

Nobody likes being told their baby is ugly, I guess.



fair point

Consulting and marketing are the 2 biggest wank sectors there are.i donno about woeking with inept, but lazy , now that trait i can tell stories about.

I tried to order four dozen paper rolls for an office with a staff of five, but accidentally ordered four dozen metal paper roll dispensers.
I mean, they were right next to each other on the supplies website.
It was fun watching them bring them all in off the truck as I slowly realised what had happened.
Good times.
Does that count?


It’s a concern when your organisation regularly goes back to the same watering hole of consulting firm - Boston Consulting Group in my case. It feels like they’ve given the running of the place over to Boston.

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Consultants aren’t meant to solve problems.

They are hired becuase someone wants to cover their ■■■ when making a decision. If it goes pear shaped you have someone to blame that isn’t you or your team.

It’s insurance for management or a board.


Badabing, touchdown

You want actual, real world help, you employ someone who will be around to see, and deal with, the consequences of their actions.

You want a pat on the back, go spend up on a consultant.

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