McKinsey&Company appointed to advise the Army WEF Jan 16

I don't recognise this as the model followed by any large strategy consulting firm (to be fair, I'm not sure about how PWC, EY et al run things).
It is exactly the model I recognise of big consultants, particularly when working for commercial naive clients. The internal culture in any big consultancy is one of constant up-sell and hour booking. They have an almost bombproof share of the government market and, so they can get away with poor delivery.

That doesn't mean they don't and can't deliver; the relative success or failure of a consultancy arrangement depends almost entirely on how the client leadership team engages with the consultancy, manages their service and subsequently implements recommendations that they choose to take forward.
 
It is exactly the model I recognise of big consultants, particularly when working for commercial naive clients. The internal culture in any big consultancy is one of constant up-sell and hour booking. They have an almost bombproof share of the government market and, so they can get away with poor delivery.

That doesn't mean they don't and can't deliver; the relative success or failure of a consultancy arrangement depends almost entirely on how the client leadership team engages with the consultancy, manages their service and subsequently implements recommendations that they choose to take forward.
We might be talking at cross purposes here. Per previous comment, not sure how PWC et al do it. McKinsey are definitely not going to be charging by the hour. Agree with the second bit mind you.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Don't understand/Don't want to believe that's how it works?

Congratulations: you're part of the problem. :-D
Ah yes, the catch all response to anyone who doesn't agree with you/defeats you in an argument.
 
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We might be talking at cross purposes here. Per previous comment, not sure how PWC et al do it. McKinsey are definitely not going to be charging by the hour. Agree with the second bit mind you.
Agreed. I've worked for two blue chips who used McKinsey to support major change initiatives and they were excellent. I wasn't the direct client and don't know the commercial terms, but I was very much involved in implementation. Whether their approach to the public sector cash cow different, I cannot comment.

I have been client side for a couple of contracts with other big-4s and found myself doubting their ethics. I walked away from a job offer with one because the culture of up-selling / looking for extra hours came through so loud and clear right through the selection process.
 
[snip] We take a short term view and simply elect to use external consultancy instead of creating internal capability that could do the job just as well
Reflecting on my earlier reply to your post, I'd whole-heartedly endorse that sentiment.

The upshot of that failure to engender competence, is that relatively junior officers wind up supervising consultancy contracts, with no clear (let alone deep) understanding of what is really possible.

All part of MOD = cash cow,
 
The only organisation that can actually change the Army's "embedded and reigning culture" is the Army itself.
Hence need for consultants to engage senior leadership in the process, to the extent that senior leadership cannot/does not wish to do any thing other than properly lead the initiative for which consultants have been hired to establish a framework.

You absolutely cannot outsource fundamental change: it is the core responsibillity of senior leadership
 
Whether their approach to the public sector cash cow different, I cannot comment.
The difference would likely be found in this: how smart, and how demanding were their clients?

If you contract McKinsey to 'do stuff I don't understand', they will surely deliver against that requirement.

It would be educational to know how the contracts with commercial companies, to which you refer, were defined

Not least because effective goal-setting has been shown to be a pretty much non-existent skillset in MOD these last several years, operationally or otherwise.
 
I've been trying to get this to happen for years, but to no avail. Hopefully you'll have more luck.
If/when I find a solvent that will (metaphorically) remove your greasy web-stalker fingerprints from (amongst other things) my LinkedIn profile, I may relent.

Until then, absent your sincere apology (less likely than the Second Coming of Jeezus H The Chippie), I will continue to hold you in contempt, and parade that at every opportunity.

Looking forward to 2016 :-D
 
In the customary engagement, the sponsor expends no blood, sweat or tears. No emotional commitment is engendered on their part: prospects of progress, let alone of success, are generally small/nil - yet we keep hiring consultancies to behave in just this way. From the PoV of McKinsey/PWc it's a license to print money.
Rather a lot of my wife's work (for a big 4 firm) appeared to involve running workshops to achieve exactly that. And having seen the hours she worked for them, and the effort she put in to each job... It explained why they kept promoting her and giving her hefty bonuses; and why her clients kept writing reviews that glowed in the dark.

It was interesting to hear her talk about the small independent consultants, who tended to work in small networks - and had an advantage whenever the customer wanted to meet "employing small and local firms" targets. When good, they could be quite good indeed; but equally, they could be shallow in resources and a bit rubbish.

The independents, strangely, looked for reasons to pull in their mates (sorry, appropriately skilled consultants within their network of contacts). Bit like the big 4; you could get good Partners running decent teams, but you could get tossers. The advantage of the big firms was that they could generally pull in an exact match to the skills needed from a large pool party of employees, not an approximate match from a much smaller network.

Blanket assertions about business models and the eeeevil of big consultancies rather miss the point.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
You don't think public fatigue over casualties was the driving factor?
It's not my work, and I offer a finger-painted tracing of it for discussion... but I do respect the analyst who produced the full report.

Over a decade ago, one of Dstl's better analysts (socially makes me look extroverted and normal; although he's a genuinely good man, but the important point is that he's bright enough that you could use his brain to shave with and almost obnoxiously honest with it) offered a thesis that sensitivity to casualties in COIN tended towards the logarithmic: that is, public support dropped as the log of the dead and maimed.

So, rather than "twice the deaths, half the support", the evidence _tended_ (and the gentleman in question was scrupulous in pointing out this was a trendline, with much scatter and only moderate correlation) to be that "ten times the dead, half the public support" was a better metric.

This was not advanced as a firm rule, indeed most of the report was exploring the outliers and whether the apparent correlation was real or merely a coincidence amidst too many other factors. (I did say the fellow was both honest and clever).

However, he did find a fair amount to indicate that the public will tolerate casualties provided they support the goal they are suffered for. As Trotsky once said, the ends may justify the means... so long as there is justification for the ends.
 
[snip]Blanket assertions about business models and the eeeevil of big consultancies rather miss the point.
I'll concede the potential for truth in that - but at the same time, I will say it jibes (pretty much totally) with my experience.
=======
Edited to add: with the caveat above, I'm inclined to finger client ineptitude as the key factor: I've yet to encounter a big consultancy that feels obliged to play Sgt Wilson to the MOD's Mainwaring, and ask 'Do you think that is wise?' before the contract gets signed.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
It's not my work, and I offer a finger-painted tracing of it for discussion... but I do respect the analyst who produced the full report.

Over a decade ago, one of Dstl's better analysts (socially makes me look extroverted and normal; although he's a genuinely good man, but the important point is that he's bright enough that you could use his brain to shave with and almost obnoxiously honest with it) offered a thesis that sensitivity to casualties in COIN tended towards the logarithmic: that is, public support dropped as the log of the dead and maimed.

So, rather than "twice the deaths, half the support", the evidence _tended_ (and the gentleman in question was scrupulous in pointing out this was a trendline, with much scatter and only moderate correlation) to be that "ten times the dead, half the public support" was a better metric.

This was not advanced as a firm rule, indeed most of the report was exploring the outliers and whether the apparent correlation was real or merely a coincidence amidst too many other factors. (I did say the fellow was both honest and clever).

However, he did find a fair amount to indicate that the public will tolerate casualties provided they support the goal they are suffered for. As Trotsky once said, the ends may justify the means... so long as there is justification for the ends.
Very interesting. Is that paper published by any chance?

I have no doubt that the public will tolerate casualties if the end is seen as worthwhile. After all, we took a large number of casualties in the Falklands and that campaign enjoyed significant (although not unwavering) public support.
 
he did find a fair amount to indicate that the public will tolerate casualties provided they support the goal they are suffered for. As Trotsky once said, the ends may justify the means... so long as there is justification for the ends.
Which would explain why route-lining at Wootton Basset became the norm (there was a big question-mark about 'ends'), and the downstream political concern which was engendered by that phenomenon, as well as the absence of any similar response to the deaths of UK servicemen in NI (there was never any real question but that the campaign was necessary to defend the Union and its citizens)
 
It would be educational to know how the contracts with commercial companies, to which you refer, were defined
There wouldn't be much difference in the contract structure or how the requirement was defined. The most obvious difference would be the direct, hands on involvement of senior leadership; they owned things in a way that simply isn't possible in the public sector.

Both companies were pretty flat, despite their size, so the top end leadership was far more accessible and involved. There were few of the rank and status issues you get in uniform.

It was interesting to hear her talk about the small independent consultants, who tended to work in small networks - and had an advantage whenever the customer wanted to meet "employing small and local firms" targets.
There are good reasons why some firms are big and some are small and why big clients engage big companies. The MoD struggles to manage its existing contract interfaces, without adding loads more small ones.
 
Very interesting. Is that paper published by any chance?

I have no doubt that the public will tolerate casualties if the end is seen as worthwhile. After all, we took a large number of casualties in the Falklands and that campaign enjoyed significant (although not unwavering) public support.

That just emphasises how times have changed, information was censored - images released to the press were controlled

Now we have an uncontrolled internet - images and information everywhere - including from the participants them selves

No one route lined the Falkland repartitions

Archie
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Very interesting. Is that paper published by any chance?.
Not open-source, but If you're willing to risk your PERSEC then PM me a DII address and I'll see if I can turn up a copy next week.
 
There were none: the dead were buried on the Islands.
Christ I don`t know how the Army came to loose you - you know fu&king everything

Yes lots were repatriated via refrigerated shipping containers

The original point I was making is that the flow of information with the coming of the internet age has changed the populous out look on current events

I doubt that other than an all out war - like WW2 the UK public will be unlikely to tolerate military losses like they have previously

Archie
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The original point I was making is that the flow of information with the coming of the internet age has changed the populous out look on current events

I doubt that other than an all out war - like WW2 the UK public will be unlikely to tolerate military losses like they have previously

Archie
I'm not so sure about that. I think you certainly make a good point that we can no longer carefully hide the consequences of war from the public. Greater media access is also generally acknowledged to be one of the reasons that the U.S. tired of Vietnam so quickly - they hadn't seen the realities of war before and didn't like what they saw.

Personally I think that the British public will have more tolerance when the end is seen as worthwhile. There are too few examples to substantiate that and it's hard to know how things would play out with the speed and reach of modern media, so it's more of a gut feeling. I can see why you think the opposite to be the case though.
 

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