In an earlier post, I discussed some of the difficulties that surround articulating the real value of hiring a consultant. In trying to explain the value myself or another consultant can bring to a project or an operation, I am often met with the same question: “Come on, are you really bringing any new ideas to a client?” My answer is always the same: “Rarely.”
This is the notion that seems to be the hardest for people outside of the consulting industry to grasp. Success is rarely a result of originality. Before there was Facebook there was MySpace, before there was MySpace, there was Friendster. If you know where MySpace and Friendster are today then you get my point. If you don’t know what those are then my point is still made.
I could discuss at length why these examples illustrate how important that the right application of expertise will nearly always trump originality but this post is about my favourite consultant. Besides having incredible business acumen, my favourite consultant is master at is craft. One might even say…a Master Chef.
That’s right, my favourite consultant is TV chef Gordon Ramsay. I began watching the show Kitchen Nightmares because I love to cook in my personal life. I still have only seen a few episodes but as I watched my first episode (US Version, Season 1, Episode 7) “Finn McCool’s”, so many of the things Chef Ramsay was doing were echoes of my day-to-day work.
If you have never seen the show, Chef Ramsay visits restaurants that are struggling or in danger of going out of business and he attempts to whip them into shape. He provides an oven fresh perspective to the operation. Cooking puns aside, there is plenty of the typical reality show production and editing but the results tell the real story.
Many of the restaurants not only recover but become quite successful. They achieve this through changes in decor, menu adjustments, cleaning, and process improvements, you know, change management. The show tends to cover a one week time span. I have no doubt Chef Ramsay has an entourage that helps him evaluate and find practical, actionable solutions to the restaurant’s problems, you know, a project team. All of that work takes place off-camera but is still guided by Chef Ramsay and his experience and ability to apply it to each situation accordingly, you know, a project manager.
So the next time some cynical type points out to you that you aren’t doing anything new, you can tell them: “You’re right, but I am doing it better and faster.”