Where’s your feedback ?

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The excellent TED video below shows why primary school children do better than business school graduates when it comes to some forms of team-working. There are many things worth further exploration here, especially around the ‘over-confidence’ of many MBA students. However, one thing I want to stress which is important to consultants is the issue of feedback.

Most consultants get direct feedback from their line-manager, and if they’re lucky, their team about their team-working, communication, modelling and presentation skills. But where do they get their feedback about what works? Without fairly immediate feedback about what actually works when solving a business problem, it is far too easy to tread the same worn paths and forget about innovation.

Need to improve quality? Well, that will be a leadership course for middle management delivered in three afternoon workshops. Cut costs? Delayering! Grow? M&A! The scary thing is that many of these ’solutions’ have been shown to fail time and time again, especially when delivered as a consulting project.

How many projects do consultants revisit a year after hand-over? How often does honest feedback actually fundamentally change what is being sold? Who do you blame when a project clearly fails? My guess is that if consultants in large consultancies really sought out strong feedback mechanisms on if and how their advice worked, clients would be more trusting and more satisfied.

Anyway, enjoy the video.

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