I'm going to provide three things that you might have skepticism about. We're talking a pretty big game of our consultants, and about how great they are, and how great this industry is. But you might be a little skeptical. First area, what do consultants even know? Don't the clients know their business better than consultants? You're going to get these young bright people right out of school, and then they're going to give advice to people who've been in the industry for 20 years. Skepticism number 2, are executives being a little vulnerable? Asking for advice when frankly, isn't the board of directors, and the CEO didn't the higher these executives because they thought that they knew the answers already? How vulnerable are they being? Finally, just in terms of being practical, consultants charge anywhere from $200-$700 an hour. Is this the best use of money? Aren't there people in the company who should be doing this? Why do we need consultants from the outside to make this happen? Those are all three potential reasons that you might say, "John, I just don't believe you." Understandable? However, management consulting is a massive industry. I here included quite a few logos from different consulting firms, and also firms that they may do many things like IBM for example, or Accenture. They do many things that are not consulting, but they also have a large consulting practice that's growing. This is very conservative. I would say about a $130 billion a year or so, even as high as a 165 billion recently. The point is, there's a lot of consulting out there. Some of it it's general business consulting, and then some of it it's very technical stuff as well. Let's go by each one of these one-by-one, and I'll give you some examples of things that I've heard from clients. In terms of breaking down problems, you see the quotes here on the left? Those are all things that I, myself have heard from clients. We don't have the data. I want to know what the competitors are doing? What's the industry trend? I know that we have some data, but by its nature, data is historical. Data happened already. It's not telling us what's happening in the future. With COVID, the change in consumer behavior, all these Zoom online meetings, even higher education, what we're doing right here through Coursera, that's changed a lot too. There was a lot of universities where they weren't doing zoom, and MS teams very much. That has changed. Same thing with retail. It used to be that the online shopping, and the in-store shopping experience were very different. But now, you've probably heard the word omni-channel. That's just a fancy way of saying the consumer doesn't care if they saw it online, on their phone, on their PC or walked into the store, and saw it. Also, they may take it home for the store, put it in their car, but they may just as easily go back home, and then order it on their PC. This is just to say, even though clients know their industry, they still have a lot of questions. They might not have the data. They want to know what other people are doing. They want to hear your point of view as a consultant on what you think it could be. As a result, many of the ways that consultants do add value is connecting the different data together, creating insights from that. Also, in a consulting firm, there are very young, precocious, ambitious, smart young people. But there are also many industry veterans who've been doing this same thing for 20 years. They also have the benefit of having seen multiple examples. Remember, early in the Coursera class I said one of the benefits of consulting is like you live in dog years. One-year in consulting is multiple years in industry. If you have a consultant that's, let's say they've done 10 years in retail. It's basically the equivalent of having done 15, 20, 25 years in retail because they've seen multiple clients and they've seen things that have worked and not worked. Let's talk about decision-making. Let's assume that we've actually broken down the problem sufficiently. The client, they can see what we're what we're thinking, kind of agree with it. That doesn't mean that the problem is solved. No, there's still a lot of variables to consider. Just intellectually a client might ask, well, you broke down the problem, but what are my options? Do I have a low-risk option and a high-risk option? Or what's the timeline, is this a three month thing or a three-year thing? There's so many other questions, even after you break down the problem on what the solutions could be. What about emotionally, psychologically? Clients have a lot of fear of failure. Nobody wants to be fired. I don't want to be fired. Nobody wants to be fired. No matter how persuasive and intellectual your analysis is, sometimes the client's still not sure? Like, "I don't know. The Excel model says that, the number sure do look good, but maybe we'll just wait. It's at the end of the year, it's getting towards Christmas time. Nobody's making any big decisions. Let's just punt." Also, at any company, what you'll find is that there's this constructive tension among the different departments. Marketing may like this, but sales doesn't manufacturing thinks it's a great idea, but R&D doesn't. There's this tension and this push and pull where not everybody is going to agree. Sometimes consultants play the role of marriage counselor, like we break the tie. Intellectually, we do the analysis and then emotionally we step in and we're just a little bit objective. The final thing here I put near the hands is how do we communicate this? It's possible that, yes I understand the problem, yes, I understand the options, yes you've convinced me emotionally and psychologically and I'm there with you. But then, how do we actually communicate this sucker out? Because it's an unfriendly decision, and how would we do that? This is many times where consultants add some value. You are an outsider. After the project is over, you are leaving. You don't live there. You can be a little bit objective. A lot of times I said that corporate marriage counseling, you can break through the politics and the gridlock. Then finally, there's a lot of persuasion involved. Emotionally there's a lot of companies that maybe intellectually they know what they need to do, but it's very tough to tell a company that they need to cannibalize their own business. For example, Kodak, which made film for film cameras, they had the technology for digital cameras long before anybody else. But wasn't very palatable, was it easy to swallow the idea that Kodak would actually pioneer a digital camera and destroy their existing film business. Of course not, so some of this is emotional as well. Finally, creating change. Nobody gets into the consulting business to make PowerPoint. This, the last thing we do. We're here to make a difference. Some of the changes aren't always easy things to do. I've been a part of consulting projects where the recommendations are to lay people off, the business isn't there. Unless you can grow the business and get more revenue, the sad fact of the matter is you have 20 percent too many people. Well, does anybody want to do this? No. Is it going to be painful? Probably, yes. Who's responsible? Hopefully, not me. When do we implement? Probably sooner than later. Then do we have enough people to even do this? You can see that consultants sometimes do the work. The idea is because consultants are expensive, there's an expectation that they're going to do it faster. Also, consultants play the bad cop, frankly. Sometimes management knows that there's going to be 20 percent layoffs, but they want a third party to come in. That's a little bit objective. We don't want individuals playing favorites, protecting their own departments, and sometimes they want the consulting firm to be the bad cop. There's many different ways and reasons why clients may call on consultants. Here, if you sum them all up, there's a lot. Don't worry. On the test there, we're not going to quiz you on all 12 of these and you have to memorize them. It's not that kind of thing. It's just to say, on any project that you have, you might not deliver all 12, that's silly. Different executives have different reasons for wanting you to be there. One challenge that I'll give the corporate managers, the ones that are indicated with this ladder, climbing the corporate ladder. The challenge for you, I feel, is when you're inside the company, people don't listen to you. We've all had that experience where we've been saying, you got to do this, and nobody listens. Then a consultant flies in from out of town, sits down, listens to you say that and then the consultant tells it to your boss, and then the boss listens. First of all, super frustrating. Also, that's a problem with your boss: not listening to you, even though it's really wicked, good advice. That said though, I think the challenge is how can you create consulting level momentum with your smart thinking internally in a company? What I would probably guess is that, yes, you have expertise, but you're not providing objectivity, you're not laying the fears that your boss has, that if she follows your advice, she might get in trouble. Just make sure that it's not just one of these three things that you want to do, but it's actually all of them. We've said a lot. But what I would say is that clients hire consultants for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes the goals are super clear , sometimes they're not. I've been on consulting projects before where they were saying, I don't exactly know what's going up, but why don't you take a look at it? These projects are very different and we'll talk about them. Some are super tactical and clearly scoped out, and some are very open-ended. The last piece of advice that I would give, and this is for the entrepreneur types. We have them as the red airplanes. They're the solo pilots. Be careful. If you're by yourself, your time is very valuable and it's very easy for prospects to waste your time. They say that they need your help, but they're not willing to pay for it. Or they say they need your help, but they're not even clear what their problem is. They say they need your help but they don't even know what it is that you do. I would just say, and this is advice for myself because I have suffered this also when you're on endless phone calls with clients, you think that they're going to be good clients, but it goes nowhere. For these red airplanes, just remember that not all clients are a fit. You need to be a little bit comfortable actually saying no and knowing what customers fit you great. What I would say is reverse engineer your ideal client, what they're looking for, and make sure that's the kind of thing that you'd like to sell.