Dispensing Useless Pills

On my blog “Golden Practices” I recently posted “Choices Consultants Make” inspired upon reading David Maister’s post “Do You Dispense Useless Pills.” (I do seem to be on a run of posts inspired by his writings which are consistently interesting and thought-provoking. I highly recommend his blog.)

I urge you to read both posts, but here’s a little about them.

Basically, as I wrote in my post, David writes about having made the choice not just to do what potential clients ask…selling them what they want even if those solutions don’t work (or if they aren’t ready for it?). He talks about walking away from the business rather than just performing the service knowing it won’t be effective.

Where my post pertains to VeraSage, I wrote:

Many prestigious consultants to the professions still emphasize tracking productivity and realization as among the most important statistics in a firm. It upsets me because some of these consultants even admit these focuses are counter-productive and have no bearing on future success (it is PROVEN they don’t), yet they continue to preach it because it’s what firms want, and expect, to hear. And will pay good money to hear.

Consultants have a degree of influence and authority, especially when they are highly visible as when on the speaker or author circuit. If dispensing one-size-fits-all or wrong advice, consultants can do as much harm as good.

Consultants might agree with me that a reality seems to be that few firms are actually ready or willing to change much of anything. After all, professional service firms are achieving great monetary success. Most professionals are making more money than they ever thought possible. Yet the professions are in crisis.

And consultants who aren’t part of the solution are part of the problem.

The post invited a string of comments including a strong addition from Ron Baker and input from David Maister. And a post by Dennis Howlett at AccMan Pro continued the conversation with several other commenters including Maister.

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