An Overreliance on Consultants?
might be surprised to learn that, on an annual basis, many large companies
spend thousands—sometimes even millions—on management consultants. Often, these
consultants are called in to pinpoint problem areas within companies as well as
develop a series of strategies to resolve them. For this reason, consultant
engagements can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, depending on the
intricacies of the issues at hand.
However, as C-level
executives have faced increased pressure to regulate company spending, and ROIs
related to consultancy have noticeably diminished, the question has cropped up:
is there a widespread overreliance on costly management consultants?
This question is a
useful one, because it allows us to consider what role consultants have been expected to play and what role they should play in pursuit of value
In the past,
organizations have relied too heavily on management consultants, which have
ultimately failed to produce actionable strategies.
Knowing the Difference Between
Complicated and Complex Challenges
should be said, are not fundamentally ineffective. In fact, relying on these
specialists can contribute to the success of organizations both big and small.
Be that as it may,
management consultants shouldn’t be depended upon wholesale.
Knowing when to
rely on management consultants and when to seek out alternatives is a crucially
important distinction to make. Indeed, this distinction stems from the
difference between complicated and complex challenges, and can make or break an
organization’s ability to effectively solve problems.
At its root, a
complicated challenge is a solvable challenge; the path from setback to
solution is linear. A complex challenge, on the other hand, doesn’t present an
obvious solution; the route to resolution is roundabout and littered with
challenges, like implementing a new human resource management system, are ideal
for consultants. Their specific knowledge and skill sets make them well suited
for these straightforward tasks with clear solutions. Unfortunately, complex
challenges, such as post-merger integration, transformation, improving the
customer experience, and responsible cost-cutting, cannot be solved by standard
or readily available solutions. The latter should be as distinctive as the
problems themselves, which is where a capability like Syntegration comes in to
Many-to-Many Approaches and Reducing
Spending on Consultants
So, how should
organizations go about solving complex problems when they are being tasked with
reducing spending on consultants?
companies are looking to many-to-many approaches, like Syntegration, to effectively
and economically solve problems. As opposed to consultants, who frequently
address complex challenges with pre-packaged solutions, or re-package what
they’ve learned from previous engagements, Syntegration is innovative.
Much like a
constellation, Syntegration brings together individuals with unique skill sets,
and connects the dots between their various insights. The result? A bright
solution for any number of opaque corporate challenges.
together all the right internal and external players—stakeholders, experts,
influencers, and decision-makers—organizations are more likely to target the
problem, consider it from every angle, and deliver a creative solution. More
importantly, by involving in-house talent in the deliberations and allowing
them to co-create solutions, you are ensuring quality buy-in.
It goes without
saying that, in the event that internal talent is deemed insufficient,
management consultants can be called upon to supplement this shortage,
informing—not owning—the solution forming.
consultants selectively in the process of problem solving, organizations not
only reduce their spending but also wildly improve execution rates,
demonstrating that cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting corners.