Let the buyer be accountable

The stories of grotesque consulting fees are legion. It seems to me there is only one way to stop this pillaging. Put some accountability on those engaging them.

Recently was the report of the World health Organisation spending 11 million dollars on the Boston Consulting group. I don’t mind if they measurably made more than $11m difference in the operating costs of the WHO. I wonder…

At Teal Unicorn, we terminate an engagement if we are not cost justifying our fees.

Someone will pay crazy sums of money for the top consulting firms:

(1) because he wants The Right Answer, he wants to be told How To Do It. The reality is no consultant knows what will work here, now, in this context. But they claim to, because they know they’ll never be held to account. Almost never: just occasionally someone sues, but it never sticks, and their insurance covers it.


(2) because he hopes that he can’t get fired for hiring the big ones.


Let’s change that. It’s too hard to touch the consulting firms, they live behind a wall of lawyers. So next time a consulting firm does the bait-and-switch – bringing in a show-pony partner to close the deal, then rolling in the graduate kids-in-suits with white ringbinders full of boilerplate company IP – next time let’s hold the person accountable who hired them into a 12 month contract and didn’t fire them after the first quarter of more damage that results.

And hold the person accountable who fires one Big Four, then tries another one.


It’s the only way we can stop this. It’s bad enough when they feed off corporates, but they do it to public entities too.

The hiring decision-makers need to answer for it.


The only upside to the whole thing is when there is just enough money left for him to resort to we freelance consultants who only get work if we give good value.