Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Real value of a consultant

March 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Having returned from a loooong hiatus, here’s what I see as a sequel to my last article on consulting >>> Professional reflections – My first year of consulting at the Firm

“Being a great leader is often less a matter of eloquence and more a matter of repetition and consistency.” – Lou Gerstner

Over the last few days, I have started reading a couple of books one of which is “The Firm”, an external perspective on what McKinsey is and what makes up the McKinsey culture. While I can be completely honest that some content in the book will not pass a factual check, there is some content that drew my attention which I wanted to share below.

My thought process is very closely aligned with what the character, Mike Ross, says to his boss, Harvey Specter, in one of the episodes of the TV series, The Suits. It goes something like this, “I know what kind of a lawyer I can be if I am as smart as you, but what I want to learn is what kind of a person I want to be.” (Don’t hold me to the exact wording of the quote… I don’t have as great a photographic memory as Mike Ross).

Anyways, going back to the main topic, I was impressed by what Marvin Bower articulated in his 1997 book, The Will to Lead, as five responsibilities of a professional consultant. I go a step further to add an overarching sixth responsibility that sets the foundation for these five responsibilities.
0. Must hold oneself accountable for being morally right in everything he/she does
1. Must put client’s interests ahead of the firm’s interests
2. Must adhere to the highest standards of truthfulness, integrity, and trustworthiness
3. Must keep to himself/ herself the client’s private and proprietary information
4. Must maintain an independent position and tell the client the truth as he sees it
5. Must provide only services that have real value

A true consultant actually ends up playing four roles:
_ Lawyer for the discretion and integrity
_ Engineer for the scientific, fact-based rigor and precision to the task
_ Doctor for dispensing advice to unhealthy organizations on how to get better and to healthy organizations on how to stay that way
_ Priest for serving clients and being a responsible member of the community

To do this, key ingredients, that Marvin called the McKinsey persona, are:
_ Being selfless
_ Being prepared to sacrifice money and fame for the sake of building a stronger firm
_ Never look for public credit
_ Confident and discreet


My conversation with United States Attorney

December 4, 2010 2 comments

Today, I had an interesting discussion with Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney of New York… the man who’s team is in the news fairly often recently… with the Galleon fraud case, insider trading probe, and other investigations in the business world.

Our discussion circled around the topic of corporate ethics and transparency in financial markets. Preet explained how his office is structured and what they are doing to combat the rising cases of fraud in the financial markets. He also noted that there is always a pressure from the media and other critics… if the attorney’s office doesn’t indict a person/organization… a hue is raised as to how toothless the office is and if they do, then the complaint is that the office is misusing its power.

Nonetheless, I had two questions for Preet which he accepted and agreed to look into:
1. Since the attorney’s office is investigating so many potential business violations, the federal investigators could have found causal patterns in the way these violations have come about… and could this not be a feedback to the industry?
2. Isn’t there something done by the regulators to disallow business models such as these “expert network” firms which inherently pose a high risk of fraud due to misuse of information asymmetry?