Leader – Where do you fit into the big picture?

In business we are told to reach for the stars. The problem is that you need to know how high the stars are in order to grab at them.

In this issue of Management Consultancy, we help you to judge that distance.

We present you with two independent pieces of research that are only available through the pages of this magazine. Our annual top consultancies survey is bigger than ever. Starting on page 14, our nine-page report not only outlines the standing of management consultancies working in individual sectors such as finance, manufacturing, utilities and human resources – but it also provides you with an at-a-glance overall standing of over 100 of the country’s top organisations. The annual survey has proved to be one of the most popular features in the editorial calendar.

It’s an invaluable guide to the way the market stands, how it’s changed, and how it is likely to change in the coming year.

The survey results show that the top companies enjoyed dramatic growth last year. However, there is a downside to the boom. As consultancies continue to ride the expansion wave, they are finding it more difficult to find the right people to fill the new positions. Every other industry seems to be suffering a skills shortage – now it’s your turn. Later on in the year Management Consultancy will be examining the area of recruitment in detail. If you have any relevant experiences or opinions to share on this subject, please contact us.

Elsewhere in this issue, we provide you with more exclusive research.

Management Consultancy commissioned the NOP Research Group to interview consultants and clients in order to discover the true influence consultants have over the buying process. In The Role and Influence of Consultants the results throw up some surprising conclusions. The research also outlines what clients believe are the major reasons for hiring consultants and how they think their needs will change over the coming year. The full research can be purchased from Management Consultancy, but we offer you an executive summary on page 32.

Once you’ve read our major survey this month, you may entirely disagree about the lack of skilled people. You may believe that you are just the person for the job. If so, turn to page 48 where our newly expanded recruitment section begins. Laugh in the face of the skills shortage.

I’m going out now

There used to be a time when this column was full of the heady excitement of polar exploration. Barely a week went by without some group of management consultants or their proteges upping sticks and following in the footsteps of Scott and Amundsen. Then there was a long lull … but we are pleased to announce a renewal of Arctic activity with the achievement of Geoffrey McGonigle, who, by completing the Ernst & Young disability challenge, becomes the first disabled person to reach the magnetic North Pole (although it could be argued that Scott and his boys weren’t in terribly good shape when they rocked up there). Geoffrey, whose disabilities resulted from a road accident and a stroke, trekked 30 miles to the Pole from Resolute Bay together with expedition leader Rikki Hunt and team members David Hempleman-Adams and Rune Gjeldes. Congratulations to Geoffrey, and the rest of you get your snowshoes on. Mmmm … consultants

In our journey to the edge of the consultancy world we have often come across members of the outward bound tendency. Ruggedised executive training falls into roughly two categories: experiential training (kill your managers by dragging them up mountains, dropping them in rivers or throwing them out of planes), and team-building (get your managers to kill each other by asking them to build a bridge). This has always caused a certain amount of friction with those executives who pursued their desk-bound careers precisely because they wanted to eat loads of expensive lunches and never take any exercise. Now we’re pleased to announce that at least one trainer has seen the light. Dan Collins of Fresh Tracks, who normally threatens you with tall ship sailing, abseiling or scuba diving, has discovered the ideal motivational substance: chocolate. Instead of dragging the cholesterol-challenged round the countryside, he gets them to design and produce a box of chocolates. Presumably the more active members of the team can then dress in black, leap out of helicopters and deliver them to women’s bedrooms. Dig for Victory

And here are some candidates coming along now: young management consultants from Ernst & Young here seen out in the bright outdoors renovating the obstacle course at the Longridge Scout Boating Centre in Marlow. It looks lovely in the picture, but apparently seconds later the heavens opened, allowing the 35 participants a lovely taste of life at the Glastonbury open-air rock festival. Now I know some of you have a question, and that question is “why?” And the answer is: it’s a test, a test of character.

All those young consultants who had the gumption to hide when the boss came round looking for volunteers have been marked down for fast-track promotion. E.I.E.I.O

It seems there’s no holding back the Young Consultant these days. No sooner do you take your eyes off one lot than another mob have rushed into the fields, doing Good Works (it must be all this good weather we’re having …).

The Children’s Farmyard at Woodrow High House, Amersham played the lucky host to 45 employees of KPMG Management Consulting who turned up to put up new fences, renovate the farmhouse and landscape the land around.

While not wishing to mar any of these noble efforts with our pitiful attempts at humour, we merely note the odd fact that when organisations such as the Scouts and The Children’s Farmyard get hold of a few dozen Young Consultants for a day, they tend to use them for manual labour.

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