Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Consulting from scratch


Funny thing, this consulting. A lot of bluff, but sometimes infested with nuggets of gold. That’s my brand of consulting, at least.

What you usually get from a consulting agency in the likes of Deloitte, McKinsey, AT Kearney, Accenture and similar is a predefined path. A problem is attacked with a plethora of tools, each with its own complexity, the so-called higher art of business, an elevated position, sort of.

Well. It works if you can afford it. Most of the times. Goes terribly wrong too. Deloitte, do you remember the famous Sigma project at NLB that dragged your Slovenian office into oblivion some years back? And who doesn’t remember, well who does, that one of the top five consultant companies died along with Enron?

I prefer to do it in an ancient way professed by two olden guys. One of them is Socrates, the other one is Aristotle.

– socratic point: I engage new consulting project without preconceptions. Naked. No tools. No ideas. Empty. Naive. Innocent. Sort of stupid. Thus, I start with soaking up of information, questionning, investigating.

– aristotlean point: though I enter in a blank slate mode I do have certain expectations. What I do expect is a rough flow of the project. I expect a prelude, the intro, the climax and the outro. Sort of dramaturgic parable.

My last big project had it all.

I entered the project with a high level of credibility and trust. This enabled me to gather information before giving out my offer. The offer itself presented the outline of how we would go about the project, but the solution itself was not yet a part of the document. What I described instead was how I planned to arrive at the solution. This was credible enough so that I was able to start the project and my billing days commenced, I was in.

The intro phase meant that I interviewed about 15 people in the company. I asked all possible questions, and went deep, deeper than management goes on a regular basis. Dug deep into data too. Of course, that’s what consultants do. Then I selected a group of 10 people and did a workshop. This workshop was the climax. We decided on a set of 7 main projects and 23 subprojects. We empowered the people in this group.

The outro, the implementation took the longest time. Which is by no means a surprise. Implementation is the actual working phase without which the thinking phase is useless. And yes, a lot of very expensive consultants work is useless, because they don’t go into implementation. Nah, it serves a purpose, it’s cover ass job.

Anyhow, internally, at my now not so new anymore job at NIL I am engaging in consulting projects too. A lot of emptiness of mind, lots of brainstorming, lots of implementation. Fun, fun, fun 🙂

Aha, btw, an advice. Do sell your time by consulting days, don’t try to bill by the hour. You are not a lawyer, nor a whore. Try to get as much as you can out of your day. I charged in the range of 500€ per day, however I was advised to raise it to 1.500€ by a friend. Could have, I guess, but now I enjoy my not so new job :).

Last but not least. Never, never, never lower your tariff because your client asks you to. Defend the price, because this price in consulting is your reputation. If you do lower it, you are a pussy and do not deserve the job anyway.

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