Letters – Your views and your verdicts

[QQ]“Every consultant should have had some real industry experience before entering the profession”[QQ] The pressures of working within “real industry” have to be experienced so that the theoretical approach can be effectively applied to the problems being resolved. I would ask “Can a ‘virgin’ really be an effective sex therapist?”[QQ] L Douglas FIMC FIMgt[QQ] [QQ] Real industry and life experience are assets, rather than disadvantages.[QQ] Instead of using 40 as a cut-off point it makes more sense to have 40 as a starting point for management consultancy. Sir John Harvey Jones and Charles Handy are living proof of this.[QQ] Peter Sheal MA MIPD AIMC,[QQ] Author and business consultant[QQ] [QQ] I entered an internal consultancy role straight from university nearly three years ago and found that a “lack” of real industry experience brought a fresh viewpoint to the table and the ability to question “why” which many people within the consultancy took for granted. From having “no real industry experience”, I have now moved into an external consultancy that specialises in distribution channel consultancy for the financial services.[QQ] James Davison[QQ] [QQ] I left the consulting profession a year ago, as a partner in one of the Top Five “accounting” firms, to join a FTSE 100 plc going through enormous change and being helped by two firms of consultants. A key part of my role was instructing and directing one of the teams. They were “good” in the way I’d have thought I was, but in truth, they had no idea of the world from my perspective, and if the specific problem did not fit into the methodology mincer, they had no idea![QQ] I suspect this is because they had no direct experience to judge or deal with the problem (a problem not easily categorised but commercial and real none the less) and could only try to force it to fit the mould of problems taught at consultancy school.[QQ] I never felt comfortable about the quality of the output, but one thing was guaranteed: it would be presented on Powerpoint! The consultant speak jargon (even simple words like “workshop” – read “meeting”) drove us, the client, bananas; and yet, recognising this, they persisted. The longer they knew us, the more they took for granted and worse still, they allowed themselves to be affected by our politics. Their naivety shone like a beacon. I would be 10 times at better consultancy now.[QQ] Diane Hughes[QQ] [QQ] Industry consists of:[QQ] 1. Many different management styles and attitudes.[QQ] 2. Many different product technologies.[QQ] 3. Many different design problems.[QQ] 4. Many different production technologies.[QQ] 5. Many different organisation sizes.[QQ] 6. Many different profit margins.[QQ] 7. Many different risk factors.[QQ] 8. All of the above and more inter-related.[QQ] And so on. These factors themselves in this global world are changing daily.[QQ] As a manufacturing consultant I fail to see how one can enter such a vast world without hands involvement over a number of years in a variety of situations.[QQ] Ernest Wisner,[QQ] 4M Manufacturing Management[QQ] [QQ] “Do you think that a special effort should be made to ensure that women make up 50 percent of those at partnership level?”[QQ] As someone who is disabled, I assume that if a quota system were introduced, there would be a corresponding one for disabled people.[QQ] This would mean, presumably, that disabled people would have to make up 10 percent of those at partnership level. But, of course, this quota would have to be split into separate sub-quotas for men and women. And so on![QQ] I believe that there should be no positive discrimination of any sort.[QQ] However, various criteria might need to be examined carefully to ensure that they don’t discriminate unfairly. For example, disabled people may have been unable to get a formal qualification due to problems at school and later; women might have not had the requisite number of years’ experience due to family responsibilities. Specific criteria such as those mentioned should therefore either be omitted or interpreted flexibly.[QQ] But this doesn’t mean that, for example, a disabled person should be given a job over someone who is better qualified.[QQ] Finally, your column uses the word “gender”. This is a grammatical term and the correct word is “sex” although there seems a growing coyness to use this word. As Fowler’s Modern English Usage (2nd edition) states, the use of “gender” is “either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder”.[QQ] (Dr) Adrian V Stokes OBE[QQ] [QQ] Attempting to make “special efforts” to ensure that women would make up 50 percent of those at partnership level is often teamed with concessions and “special” deals which may ultimately be bad for the company or organisation.[QQ] The introduction of such steps – as well-intentioned as they may be – has potential repercussions as other less well represented bodies and groups would also require “special efforts” to raise their profile as well.[QQ] It could even come round full circle possibly to Management Consultancy raising the question “Do you think that a special effort should be made to ensure that white able-bodied males make up 50 percent …”[QQ] David Grewcock,[QQ] Harrow Council[QQ] [QQ] “The Big Five can offer customers a more integrated IT service than the dedicated IT companies”[QQ] IT houses have always had the problem of not being in at the decision making process. They are usually brought in for a specific job where there is not much room for adding value and hence they often have to compete on price.[QQ] Consultancies, on the other hand, can start from a business perspective and command an overview of the whole programme. This allows them to spot further opportunities and to communicate with management on their level (non-technical).[QQ] Their decision, then, on which IT supplier to use can be seen by client management as adding value in itself![QQ] David Speight[QQ] Opta Consulting

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