Today sees the launch of my latest book, Management Consultancy, published by Routledge (http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9781138798847/ ). It was a very interesting project to work on. To be honest, I had never considered writing a book on management consultancy, and probably would not have done so had not my editor, Terry Clague, encouraged me to do it.
My first thought was there must be plenty of books on management consultancy out there already. In fact, there were fewer than you might think. Many of those that do exist are excellent, of course, and describe the consulting industry very well. I felt that for another book on the subject to work, it would have to do something a little different.
Rather than undertake detailed analysis of the industry and the structure of consulting firms, therefore, I tried to concentrate on the experience of what it is like to be a consultant. Especially for readers who have limited knowledge of the industry but are considering a career in consultancy, Management Consultancy should give you some of the flavour of what consulting work is like, the methods consultants use, the problems that can be encountered and the issues and dilemmas with which consultants wrestle.
I have focused heavily on things like problem identification and problem solving. The first is particularly tricky because, as experienced consultants will tell you, the problem the client has identified and for which he/she has asked for help is often not the real problem. This is one reason why consultants must have good analytical skills; they must be able to dig into a business and understand how and why it works as it does, if they are identify these deep-seated problems.
I also included an entire chapter on ethics, because management consultants face constant streams of ethical issues and dilemmas, and the ability to react to these and make the right decisions is essential to both the success of any consultancy engagement and the consultant’s own credibility and reputation. I also included a chapter on sustainability, which one reviewer grumbled was just a fad. Not so. Consultants are now routinely asked to build sustainability features into solutions they deliver to clients. ‘Sustainability consulting’ is moving out of its niche market and into the mainstream, and would-be consultants must be aware of this.
Management consultancy, like so many professions, is changing rapidly. How consultants do things today is very different from twenty years ago, and in ten years’ time will be different again. Consultancy is a fascinating world, and I hope this book offers some insights into the world that will be of benefit to readers.
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