It's hard to imagine, but managers do make mistakes and consultants sometimes contribute to those mistakes. Given that I don't know what I don't know, how can I be sure I am not contributing to a future mistake?
George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Great advice for consultants. The more we know about the history of management, and consulting, as well as some of the best, and worst, decisions made, the better we are able to provide effective advice.
In most industries, either researchers or trade press have defined some of the worst decisions managers have made. These documents or articles are useful to review for the industries of your clients. Being conversant in these historical gaffes gives you perspective on how you can give advice that may avoid similar mistakes. Tip:
Get a jump start on your research by reading the HBSP article Seven Ways To Fail Big
, based on research by paul carroll and chunka mui, who looked at 750 of the most significant u.s. business failures over the past 25 years and found that half could have been avoided. check out this research and see how it resonates with your clients or type of advice you might give in similar circumstances. You may even want to discuss these decisions with your client - it is unlikely your client's staff or other advisors are doing this - and provide some real value added.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA