Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Consult'thing

After having spent more than 35% of the year interning, Pareto(Mr. 80/20) would be cross with me, if i do not write enough about it. With due credit to a friend of mine who once said : 'Unless you have the courage to make fun of your profession, you would never enjoy it.'

For laymen: The job of consultants in plain English is to compare Apples with Oranges. No wonder they travel back and forth from Shimla to Nagpur. Fondly call them Client Locations. There is less to Consult'thing than borrowing from other industries and countries to facilitate firms to climb the right ladders in a game of you know what.

Again for laymen who question their very existence: A consultant, they say is one who takes away sheep from a shepherd for counting his sheep. The question remains why the shepherd needs a consultant? Can't he count his own sheep? He cannot. A shepherd falls asleep as soon as he starts counting his sheep. Consultants do not. In fact they wake up at 4 in the morning and start out on an expedition to count people's sheep.

There is also a popular view that consultants speak in the air. They sure do. A quarter of their life is spent at 25000 metres above mean sea level. They are the ones who actually use all that useless stuff you report spam from yatra(dot)com and other travel sites. A consultant without a frequent flyer number is like an oil company without a forward. For some of my less geekier friends, both these situations are equivalent to a computer without auto-sleep. Very uneconomical.

Consultants love to sell old wine in new bottle. The older the better. They know the best cures to any problem come from grandmothers book of recipes. Old wine found. Now for a new bottle, just create a D.A.D.I framework. Deploy. Analyse. Develop. Integrate. There you go. A framework that could pull wool over ears of even the most native speakers of hindi.

A consultant without laptop is like fish without water. The laptop search history itself is worth a million pounds. The hard disk is filled with pptx. The mail box is filled with travel details. The trash box is filled with mails from IT department. laptop hang is next only to heart fail.

While making statements, I now ensure that they are equally applicable to shirt button manufacturers, dog kennel painters, rain-water harvesters and precision rocket makers alike (Read Globe). To a great extent, thats how we ensure we are always on the right track. And that is how we handle so many things back to back.

Internship was great. The classic case of - Firm recruits Intern. In Turn it expects power-points. The principal-agent problem. But somehow at the end of it all, I do have a positive answer to learnings from internship. Project mentor ensured work was interesting. Co-interns ensured boredom was at bay. A metallic box of chocolates made up for any glitches. Work place had its fair share of diversity. And I could happily cross off Delhi on the places-yet-to-visit list.


Unknown said...

A consultant surely does take away sheep from the shepherd, and on paper, commits to count them for him. But his off paper work involves a lot of other tasks -
1. Convincing the shepherd to believe that his counting abilities are worse than a kindergarten kid.
2. That the environment at the shepherd's enclosure is not conducive for exact counting of sheep.
3. Searching a counter-party client who may want consult'thing advice on which type of sheep he should buy for his domesticated yet hungry fox.
4. Finding the specified "quality" for that client.
5. Using randbetween() function in excel to count the remaining sheep.

Venky said...

What a delight to read this..Touche..
Good luck on your consluting journeys..oops consulting journeys..

On a serious note, if you are interested in how consultants came to be this way, you have to read "Lords of the Strategy". Riveting read of the bedrock of ideas which shaped the consulting strategy revolution.