Saturday, February 11, 2012

Art and Craft of Management Consulting

"Elements of Management Consulting" by Professor Vasudev Murthy (GM at Wipro, Consulting Operations) has been one of those delightful courses that has at once educated, entertained and demystified the enigmatic role of Business Consultant. And today, the class was witness to a truly wonderful and thought provoking lecture by Mr. Sanjay Purohit, Senior VP at Infosys. I could but hardly stop myself from thinking of writing this blog as I sat listening. And though a blog can seldom do justice to such wise thoughts, it is all that this 'practicing' student consultant can do!

How does a young consultant come up with a framework to judge if each Tata Group company is worthy enough to sport that hallowed 'T' logo and brand? How does a consultant (young or not) help in a standoff between the management of a massive enterprise and its union, when the factories have been locked-out? How does a consultant respond when the CEO of a hundred year old enterprise accepts his recommendation to 'fundamentally change' the company in minutes and asks him to start execution?

Its difficult to comprehend the dizzy world of top-notch consultants commanding rates of hundreds of dollars per hour.. who spend more time in an year in airplanes than at their homes. It becomes even more difficult to comprehend when its said that 80% of all consulting work is the same. And its difficult to believe that spending hours and hours just learning about a client, applying thought and writing reports in simple English can solve some of the most vexed problems that huge company's face.

But here I should touch upon some of the ideas that got discussed in the class. They included - how/why a client hires a consultant and not the consulting firm. Why organisation simplification is catching on as one of the hot areas of consulting. The idea that management consulting is fast evolving into a job of co-creation with the client. That proposals and deliverable discussions at the start of the engagement could be passé. How could one a build a team where every member feels that the rest of the team is behind him. Open minded consulting. Freelance consulting market being bigger than organized consulting and so on..

The session included humorous anecdotes on how Indians are fast becoming the fastest English speakers on the planet - speed of talking that most in the world cannot comprehend! And how after all the world of consulting existed before the arrival of powerpoint presentations and people could still exchange thoughts..

Its a pleasure to sign off the day with such wonderful thoughts and learning's..


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