This article was written by a friend who used to work at a tech company in operations. He joined a top consulting firm after MBA, and is now partner of a VC fund. Any questions to him can be relayed by [email protected]
When I first joined consulting after MBA, one thing seriously puzzled me. When my partner went to sell to corporate clients, often he would say things which clearly do not make sense (to me at least).
For instance, the “user journey” he was telling a consumer goods group which wanted to build a ‘one stop lifestyle app’ is so flawed that anyone who has ever worked in a consumer internet company would be able to point out.
After a few months, when I got familiar with him. I asked him about the specific user journey: “Do you really believe in this?”
“Of course not,” he was amazingly frank.
“Why did you tell this to the client? That is not for their best interest.” I dared to ask.
“Well, you know. They believe in this, and it was apparent in our first meeting,” he replied.
He added, “You know, when I was a junior consultant, I also wanted to convince people.”
What is the point?
“But I realised that, not long after, what is the point,” he continued. “Convincing them to do something that is correct takes a lot of effort. They are always sceptical.
But when you try to tell them things which are not necessarily exactly correct, but aligned with their own thinking, things become much easier.”
“Well, then that is going to lead their initiative nowhere, wasting time and effort,” I asked.
“Here is the catch – when things go wrong, there are so many things you can blame,” he grinned. “And when you convince them to do the right thing as you think of it, it can still go wrong.”
“So again, what is point,” he finished the beer, leaving me in deep thought.