Where Did Consultants Go Wrong to Earn All This Hate?



A lot of people love the consulting industry. Others are not big fans of consultants. Who is to blame here?


1. Overpromising. Underdelivering.


This angers employees and makes them feel as though these consultants are paid to simply word their ideas in a fancy way! It’s like a repackaging process with no added value at all.


One example is a comment of a corporate employee narrating their struggle; “If I go to my boss and say, "I want to add this service, but I need to add headcount and increase our run rate" - my boss will say "get out of my office". If I have a consultant from XyZ present this same idea to my boss, he'll listen, because of XyZ's reputation...”


The recommendation is good, but bosses who disregard team suggestions and go and pay big fees for the same ones won’t make any consulting fans.


2. Band-aiding rather than curing.


While many consultants do their work correctly, some show a real lack of expertise. Such consultants are not committed and simply do not care.


Sometimes, they offer unrealistic solutions that do not solve the real issues, but rather the symptoms. And while these band-aids can work, they’re temporary, making them ineffective in the long run. So clients will need hire consultants again down the line to extend the solution or solve a new problem that arises.


I mean we can’t ask someone who has worked with such consultants not to panic the next time they see one!


3. It is the consultant’s fault!


If the problem is solved, they did their job. If it was not, then even if they didn’t create it, it is the consultant’s fault. Why? Cause we paid them to fix it, and it wasn't fixed.


In other words:

  1. If things go well, the company celebrates its success silently.

  2. If things go wrong, the consultants get all the blame and hate.

Most problems go unsolved for a long time, which opens the opportunity for consultants to be blamed for them.



4. No skin in the game.


Here for recommendations. Not implementation.


After giving solutions and recommendations, the consulting firm may not be around to check on the implementation due to the client’s budget for example.


Also, if you recommend a solution and someone else is executing, both players could be blamed when the whole thing explodes, and it becomes more subjective than objective.



5. Bringing change.


Change is often good. But some people fear it.


After assessing the company’s status and inner practices, consultants make recommendations. But sometimes, these recommendations are big life changers, at least to the company’s staff.


A recommendation could be to close the company all together, sell off a branch, or drastically redirect the workflow. Such changes are scary if you look at them from different perspectives. Many employees might lose their jobs and implementing the recommendations might not even end successfully.



I believe it’s clear now that there are several scenarios where consultants don't help others in liking them. However, the good ones are aware of all points above and thrive to avoid these mistakes.


One bad apple, should not spoil the bunch!