Peter Drucker in my mind is the Leonardo de Vinci of management. His work will be appreciated more in 400 years from now. We all would benefit from reading the Definitive Drucker, a book that offers a summary of the sage’s advice.
Drucker observed that many new initiatives failed as the wrong people were leading them. When we recruit a new employee or consultant to undertake a new job or project, such as the introduction of lean processes, implementing a balanced scorecard or a restructuring of the organisation there will be much uncertainty among staff and management. Staff will be wondering, what is going to happen with my job? Are my favourite tasks about to disappear? What affect is this going to have on my pay?
The new person is not known nor do they know the culture. With consultants you have the added problem of the Porsche Carrera in the visitors’ car park. The lack of institutional knowledge and credibility leads often to stone walling any project progress. Staff and management doing their utmost to make the consultant fail. The consultant, in such circumstances, is given as much chance of success as a mountaineer solo climbing Mount Everest. It can be done but only by a freak of nature.
Peter Drucker advised that you find a project manager in your organisation with the most credibility, the one with the highest stack of IOUs. Train them, support them with a mentor (this is where the consultant should be used) and watch the project fly.