A Pivot al Moment in Management Consulting

October 4, 2023

The practice of selling “management consulting” has undergone a handful of tectonic shifts since Edwin Booz convinced Sears, the “department” store outfit to hire him. (Yes, I am aware I am cherry picking, but this is a blog post, not a for fee report.)

The first was the ability of a consultant to move around quickly. Trains and Chicago became synonymous with management razzle dazzle. The center of gravity shifted to New York City because consulting thrives where there are big companies. The second was the institutionalization of the MBA as a certification of a 23 year old’s expertise. The third was the “invention” of former consultants for hire. The innovator in this business was Gerson Lehrman Group, but there are many imitators who hire former blue-chip types and resell them without the fee baggage of the McKinsey & Co. type outfits. And now the fourth earthquake is rattling carpetland and the windows in corner offices (even if these offices are in an expensive home in Wyoming.)

9 30 centaur and cybord

A centaur and a cyborg working on a client report. Thanks, MidJourney. Nice hair style on the cyborg.

Now we have the era of smart software or what I prefer to call the era of hyperbole about semi-smart semi-automated systems which output “information.” I noted this write up from the estimable Harvard University. Yes, this is the outfit who appointed an expert in ethics to head up the outfit’s ethics department. The same ethics expert allegedly made up data for peer reviewed publications. Yep, that Harvard University.

Navigating the Jagged Technological Frontier” is an essay crafted by the D^3 faculty. None of this single author stuff in an institution where fabrication of research is a stand up comic joke. “What’s the most terrifying word for a Harvard ethicist?” Give up? “Ethics.” Ho ho ho.

What are the highlights of this esteemed group of researches, thinkers, and analysts. I quote:

  • For tasks within the AI frontier, ChatGPT-4 significantly increased performance, boosting speed by over 25%, human-rated performance by over 40%, and task completion by over 12%.
  • The study introduces the concept of a “jagged technological frontier,” where AI excels in some tasks but falls short in others.
  • Two distinct patterns of AI use emerged: “Centaurs,” who divided and delegated tasks between themselves and the AI, and “Cyborgs,” who integrated their workflow with the AI.

Translation: We need fewer MBAs and old timers who are not able to maximize billability with smart or semi smart software. Keep in mind that some consultants view clients with disdain. If these folks were smart, they would not be relying on 20-somethings to bail them out and provide “wisdom.”

This dinobaby is glad he is old.

Stephen E Arnold, October 4, 2023


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta