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The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy Kindle Edition
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|Length: 353 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I have mainly worked with startups and we didn't engage management consulting firms to figure out how to build a business. Being the victim of a major merger around the turn of the century I was involved in defining a new modus operandi - a project lead by one of the major MC firms. I was not impressed.
As I started my own boutique MC company I learned that small league business executives are hungry for ways to cut corners, pluck the low hanging fruits, avoid risk (which you cannot) and find an easy way out. However, they are not prepared to pay much for consulting as they do not make much themselves. They are not impressed with the ivory league MC firms that they don't believe have any experience with the small business (and they are right).
Big league executives, on the other hand, love the ivory league MC firms and are prepared to pay the big bucks. It adds to the prestige of their positions that they are entitled to and can afford to hire them. But they are also expected to do so. I have worked as a consultant for some of the biggest companies on the globe and could only look with envy on the fees that the big boys could charge. Now I understand why that makes perfect sense and this book helped me fully understand the mechanics.
That said, I have a couple of reservations. The flaming arrows shot at strategy management consulting, especially the big-firm variety, may be well-aimed, but there are other, more specialized consulting engagements and other consultants who may be able to provide some benefit (such as when it comes to helping companies with communications, with choosing strategic investments in fields or technologies new to the company, etc.) Not all consultants are so expensive, lacking in expertise and insincere; it would have been good for the book to have made this distinction clear. Another issue is more with the marketing than with the text: the book's philosophy angle is over-hyped. Sure, MS has a PhD in philosophy, and there are occasional references to Plato's cave, Rousseau's Geneva and to Nietzsche, but such names are dropped only occasionally and for the sake of some piquant analogies, without any serious application of these thinkers' ideas to the problems of management. Finally, it's unfortunate that MS adopted such a utilitarian approach to his own working life, i.e. that the ends (big bucks) justified the means (spending years working in such a hypocritical or even sham industry). While his criticisms are well-deserved and on good authority, and his literary and comedic skills are outstanding, the fact that MS's hands are so unclean makes me hesitate to give this book a rave review.