Everyone knows consultants are driven by money, but most don't realize just how "coin operated" their firms can be. Just like a cigarette machine, most consulting firms will happily devour your last dollar!
There was the rare case where I was on the receiving end of this crazy consulting business…
I had joined a small firm looking for more reward. And that's just what I got when times were good. But once things turned south, I was the only one keeping the company afloat. Seriously - I was the only billable resource actually billing!
Then something surreal happened: The CEO called in a friend to do some consulting. On our firm. For big bucks.
Suddenly I understood how "the locals" felt when I rode into town! I knew what the company needed: More billing and less lounging and paperwork pushing! Why not just ask me?
Mr. Friendly decided that we needed to increase our billability (gosh, ya think?) and sales effectiveness (seriously!) so proposed that we hit up all our past clients in search of someone with money. That was his proposal. Really.
So that's what we did. It was "all hands on deck" and "man the oars" and some other nautical nonsense as we started ringing up everyone we knew looking for loose change.
The mission wasn't to find work that needed to be done; rather we were "tasked to find budget" regardless of need, skill, or desire. And find budget we did!
Somehow, dozens of customers loosened up their wallets and ponied up for services right when we needed them most. But what would we do? We devised a "rapid assessment" with "actionable next steps" and sold a dozen at $10k each. Then I headed out to deliver the garbage at the first company. After puking out ten easy steps, I turned in my homework and expected to move on to the next.
But a funny thing happened instead: A bunch of junior consultants magically appeared (temps!) and they "delivered" in my place! They marched in, sat through meetings, and handed over THE EXACT SAME REPORT I had prepared. Easy money!
That was enough for me. I quit. But the company did fine. In fact, they are still out there, probably still selling my answers.
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/oimax/