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HBR 80’s Throwback: Collaborative Purpose In Consulting – Financial Services



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This article was sent to me by a former colleague in response to
my request for “introduction to consulting” material for
our undergrad career fairs. I found it to be a particularly good
framework for effective advisory partnerships and read through
entirely before looking at the date it was first published in the
Harvard Business Review: September
1982.

In the era of Digital Transformation, AI, and Automation,
it’s hard to imagine that a 40 year old (pause…yes, 1982 was
40 years ago…) thought piece could be germane to today’s
consultants and business leaders, but the Hierarchy of
Purpose
remains entirely relevant.

Relative to the pyramid of Eight Fundamental
Objectives
defined here, I’m consistently inspired by
#7: Facilitate Client Learning.

On an exploratory call with a client just this morning I was
posed with the question:

“How do we solve these issues when I don’t even
understand what’s out there, what’s possible, and what
other investment funds are doing in their finance
operations?”

What followed was a dialogue to educate on best practices in the
industry, what I’ve seen, what worked, what didn’t, and our
options, ultimately concluding with a sigh of relief on the other
side of my screen. Together, we broke down the problem statement
from an overwhelming and opaque need for “Transformation”
into something well understood, bite-sized, digestible, and
actionable. The process was as important as the product to arm this
leader with the ability to synthesize similar problems in the
future.

Which of the eight objectives in the pyramid here resonate with
you? Which do you think are irrelevant or de-prioritized in
today’s environment? And most importantly, what
objectives are missing?
Share your thoughts – clients and
colleagues!

https://hbr.org/1982/09/consulting-is-more-than-giving-advice

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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