Forbes recently ran an article about the demise of the traditional consultant. It was Forbes so they were talking about the traditional Corporate Consultant.
It claimed that in the late 1800’s a guy by the name of Frederick Taylor set out to analyse company performance and was the original advocate of the first maxim of management consulting: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This belief gave rise to time and motion studies–the practice of analysing systems of work to identify efficiencies and improve profit. This, in turn, grew into what we recognise today as “The Consultant” – bringing efficiencies and a methodology to walk through your processes and procedures. The view in the article is that this is a dying requirement, that high-performing businesses now focus first on helping people perform at their brilliant, imaginative, imperfect best.
They prize revolution not routine, conflict not comfort, variety not predictability. All of this points to a simple truth: these days, people equal competitive advantage. But traditional consultants and their calculators were not developed to cope with this reality.
So is the role of traditional Corporate Consultant dead?