Understanding the system

Sounds very, very familiar….

But as we mentioned earlier, not every consultant who made the jump landed in the corner office.  A senior partner we know from a prominent strategy consultancy joined a large pharmaceutical company, as head of strategic planning, reporting directly to the CEO.  Within a short time after joining, he launched a series of initiatives, creating confusion and chaos in an organisation that was already riddled with complexity.  He demonstrated very few skills in communication or empathy, and thus alienated the majority of his team and peers, and did not endear himself to the CEO either.  To top it all, ironically, he ended up dramatically increasing the spending on external consulting, which was, of course, the opposite of the intended effect.  By this time, the CEO had lost patience and asked him to leave.  He has since returned to the world of consulting.

It’s weird watching this play out in real life. Especially the vicious cycle of a series of major initiatives (often created by consultants), confusion and complexity internally, and then throwing more consultants at the problem because these internal people ‘don’t seem to be able to do anything’. Understanding the system is essential to intervening in the system.


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