• Extreme caution is needed when dealing with management consultants
  • There is a lot of information about the workings of Andersen, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, McKinsey, Gemini and their clients
  • You can find their products in here too – BCG’s matrix (Growth; fast/slow – Cash; high/low – fill in stars/dogs/cash cows/question marks), the balanced scorecard, and Gemini’s transformation or re-engineering concept
  • It warns against fuzzy concepts like “world class” which cannot be defined or measured, and creating a “consulting fantasyland” which sounds reassuring but doesn’t actually get you anywhere
  • Just before he died, McKinsey confessed that making real decisions in business is a lot harder than getting paid to advise people what to do – sometimes it is fine to admit that you don’t have all the answers


  • There are many parallels to be drawn between client/agency relationships and those between companies and consultants. There is a checklist of how to deal with consultants, which could equally apply to clients dealing with agencies:
    • Why are you doing this?
    • Do you need outsiders?
    • Who will work on the business?
    • What will it cost?
    • Never give up control
    • Don’t be unhappy even for a day
    • Beware of glib talkers with books
    • Value your own employees
    • Measure the process
    • If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it

  • Being aware of these theories will increase your strategic capability
  • Consultants are better than agencies at applying market learnings from one client to another, and at re-packaging their skills many times over


  • This is not a classic marketing textbook where you can grab a few diagrams and claim you have read it – you need to absorb it and use the examples
  • The parallels with agency faults could shoot you in the foot if mishandled