I'm Sorry I Broke Your Company

When Management Consultants Are the Problem, Not the Solution

by Karen Phelan

Number of pages: 240

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

BBB Library: Human Resources, Corporate Success

ISBN: 978-1609947392

About the Author

She’s a confounder of Operating Principals, a consulting firm that replaces bad business practices with ones that work.


Editorial Review

In this book we get to know that human assets aren’t a part of a business. If you take away the human assets, you don’t have a business, just a bunch of offices and equipment that can’t do anything. Businesses are people–irrational, emotional, unpredictable, creative, oddly gifted, and sometimes ingenious people who don’t operate according to the theories.

Book Reviews

“With a mix of cleared-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have "broken" your company, but she's eager to repair the damage and make amends. She offers the perfect antidote to years of management malpractice.” – Berrett Khoeler Publisher

“Drawing on her own consulting experiences, she portrays them as providing pre-packaged, unproven theoretical constructs that "substitute for getting people to work together better.” – Publishers Weekly

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

The problem with strategic plans is that they require you to predict the future.

The usual way to develop a future vision is to hire consultants who do lots of research on the industry and trends and write all this up in a report.

The plan itself has very little value. It’s the planning that adds the value.

The goal shouldn’t be to develop a plan to follow but to gain the wisdom and knowledge to react appropriately to a rapidly changing world given the capabilities of the company.

If you pick a specific goal and attach rewards and punishments to it, you can guarantee that somehow that goal will be met. Unfortunately, this often comes at the expense of other worthy, but non-measured, business goals.

Rewards and incentives have very short-term benefits but in the long-term inhibit learning and intrinsic motivation.

Besides being subject to the biases of the manager, the problem with the rating system is that em-ployees must be labeled and sorted at a particular moment in time.

The purpose of the sorting/labeling system is to find the employees with leadership potential so they can be groomed for the next management levels.

It’s much easier to work with human nature than against it.

Changing our thinking is at the same time the hardest and the easiest thing to do.