Tiers of consultation

A common misconception about strategy consulting is that it's about strategy. 95% of the time, it's too late for a "strategy," and one's client really just needs a "tactical," solution.

When it is about strategy, only 10% of the work is figuring out the strategy-to-be-recommended based on hypothesis testing, prior to that, 40% of the team's efforts should be focused on being very, very, sure that they understand the economic conundrum (i.e. decision with opportunity costs)that the "strategy," is supposed to clarify. Following that, the remaining 50% of the team's efforts should be on ensuring that the client understands, is ready, and is able to implement, the bloody strategy. Whether the client is willing is up to them, of course, but the consultant can only claim full professional responsibility, and absolve herself of the err of providing the wrong "solution," if she quantifies away all uncertainty about the client's (i.) understanding, (ii.) ability, and (iii.) readiness (any time-sensitive factors) regarding the solution. (Enumerated for emphasis.)

Related: It's bad enough to hire managers to whip staff who can't self-organise. It's worse by the time you hire consultants to whip management.

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