by Homer J. Hagedorn The Making of a Master Consultant How is it that a management consultant can make any contribution at all? Would- be consultants have much the same upbringing and life experiences as their clients. They and their clients are educated at the same schools and colleges. It may be impossible (and it is certainly risky) for consultants to try to demonstrate that they are smarter than their clients. Furthermore, consultants hardly ever learn a client’s turf as well as the client knows it, and already knew it before the consultant arrived. Yet consultants can make a difference, in Henderson’s opinion. Though he questions his own temperamental right to be a consultant, Henderson says he knows he changed the futures of his first five clients forever, and he knows he brought about those changes himself. Insight, persuasiveness, and the consultant’s right and obligation to use the freedom he has are the keys that Henderson uses. Underneath the concepts in terms of which the consultant expresses his findings, there must be insight into the “system” that the business in fact constitutes, the dynamics that maintain that system, and the constructive changes that would be consistent with the system’s real requirements. Insights of value are not readily available to the client separately, because clients looking for clues to system dynamics are partially blinded by their own organizational imperatives, the workings of their culture, and the internal politics generated by differences in interest. Consultants can come by insights of value more readily, because they are beyond these imperatives, provided they seek the big picture. (“Give me people to work with who give me the big picture,” says Henderson. “Spare me from people who call themselves consultants and only give me information.”) Consultants do best of all when they can collaborate with one another. (“People working by themselves are inefficient information processors. Consultants working together polish each other’s ideas. Furthermore, there are politics on both sides, and the way the consulting team surpasses its own politics is partly responsible for the quality of the insights it achieves.”) The consultant has to be able to see and use the client’s system better than the people who are a part of that system. What is in equilibrium? What streams of information or control feedback on themselves? (“Not facts but loops are to be studied.”) What weightings are to be assigned? What time lags are significant to how the system works? What images or figures of speech do clients use? Imagery as expressed by clients, says Henderson, portrays the details that instinct or organizational culture allows to be noticed, as well as many other forces and relationships simply not noticed by the people who live and work in the system. Imagery insightfully interpreted, therefore, portrays something of the real dynamics of the system. (A typical one for Henderson, for example: “Taking a girl for a walk through a minefield you didn’t know was there.”) Distilling the Essence of Interaction Answers to the questions asked in the preceding paragraph bring to the surface the outlines of the “system dynamic,” in particular those very important aspects that help to characterize the interaction of the system and its environment. Henderson admires the thinking of Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, the advocate and theorist of sociobiology.” The system Henderson focuses on is sharply constrained by the activities of other nearby systems, by its own historical antecedents, and by the workings of the culture that has arisen out of the face-to-face interactions among the people in the system. One senses that Henderson’s aim is to describe client systems as being the results of unique combinations of influences; to look for that which specifically characterizes a particular client organization’s behaviour before concerning himself with the organization’s more typical features. So, as a consultant, he starts with the system and its dynamics rather than with assessments from functional perspectives, comparisons to industry standards, or specific data-gathering requirements. He wants to call attention to the practices, attitudes, and relationships that, in fact, underlie the way a client firm does its day-to-day work but that are either disregarded, taken for granted, or accepted as inevitable by the client’s people. “The effective consultant is reconciled to the fact that clients cannot say what’s going on in their system.” Two additional steps are necessary to develop added insight into client system dynamics. Once the outlines of the system have been discerned, a basis is available for describing its overall rationale as a set of logically related propositions. At that point, it becomes a matter of pure logic to identify any “bugs” in the system, or at least to describe rationally the flaws or conditions that cause the deficiency sensed to be a problem in the first place. The second step is to zero in on possible solutions or approaches that will be acceptable in the culture and will support improved functioning of the system. Insights Need Selling Persuasiveness is the second fundamental requirement for the consultant, who must not only have insight but also must know how to gain acceptance for it. Persuasiveness depends on rapport. Rapport, in turn, is founded on a variety of consultant-initiated activities and can, therefore, be within the consultant’s control. Consultant rapport can be aided by the fact that consultants are a class of businesspeople motivated to seek client approval and governed by the need for client approval far more than they are governed by the need for peer approval. To be persuasive, consultants must Be able to use all of the thousands of channels that are simultaneously available for any two human beings to communicate with each other. Words have their own power to lead and to mislead, but gestures, postures, and mannerisms are fun They transcend reality.Understand the complexity in the seemingly cynical aphorism, “Acting is just lying with the body.”Have no hidden agendas and be able to demonstrate integrity, whatever personal feelings and values that the consultant may have.Take nobody’s side and be able to show impartiality.Apply the insights being developed (use the client system better than the client does or can). The first objective in bringing about changes in client behaviour is to use the now-developed rapport to get the client to see the problem as the consultant discerns it. This is usually easiest if the same person leads the team throughout. (“The person who defines the problem must be responsible for delivering the goods.“) That is the person who promised help; that is usually the person who initiated whatever rapport exists. If that person is perceived as someone with ideas and insight, his or her suggestions will also be taken seriously. This provides still another reason why it is important for consultants and consulting firms to develop, polish, and constantly renew a set of current ideas to be known by, a set that is somewhat independent of the value of the ideas themselves in a given situation. Finally, persuasiveness depends on the manner in which the suggestions are made. In his first consulting endeavours, Henderson more or less automatically engaged in “telling the client what to do.” He now thinks that a less directive approach is almost always more acceptable and, therefore, more effective. (“Don’t tell, suggest.”) Even the most persuasive consultant will go farther toward bringing about constructive and ultimately acceptable changes in client behaviour by going beyond the role of the persuader. The consultant must maintain the position of being free of client constraints, including such attitudes and actions as Expecting to find a constructive so (“If I am building a building, I want to hire a man to be in charge who expects to bring the project in under budget.” Henderson hires consultants who expect to solve the problem.)Crossing organizational boundaries in the client organization as though they did not exist.Setting precedents for the client rather than observing the preexisting precedents. Henderson, therefore, believes that what a consultant contributes is changes in client behaviour, following which the client (1) is better off and (2) thinks so. That these changes are worth their cost derives from yet another quality, however; namely, the consultant’s ability to engage in time compression on the client’s behalf. Consulting Makes a Social Contribution Consultants contribute value in excess of their cost by compressing time for the client. That is, a consultant makes it possible for a client to reach a particular developmental point sooner than the client could without the consultant, and without significantly altering the rate at which the client expends resources. Time compression can begin to occur once it becomes possible to predict outcomes more accurately than chance will dictate. Even predictions that offer only small improvements over chance finally cascade into valuable consulting outcomes, because the prescription to “do it the way I will show you” is applied in so many different but related ways that generate so many different change processes. Each change process offers opportunities for monitoring, feedback, reflection, replanning, and self-improvement, thus raising the chance of success by profitable utilization of the “feedback loops.” What happens is precisely analogous to speeding up the evolutionary process of natural selection in biology. Nature keeps species reproducing, peremptorily rejects failures, retains successes to reproduce their kind in relatively greater numbers, and eventually “selects” genetic combinations that are consistently competent (i.e., whose chances of reproducing themselves adequately in their environment, is better than random change would dictate). A “learning curve” can then be traced that reflects the changes that came about compared with the time elapsed during transition. In time compression, the learning curve is steeper. That is, it takes less time to reject failures, to generate superior types, and to stabilize their reproduction. In the process of consulting, as in natural selection, the name of the game is uncertainty. But workably accurate predictions (better than chance) can be made if there is enough certainty about a prescription to test it and predict what will happen. Confronting “what if” questions as real situations will ultimately reduce a great deal of uncertainty. Henderson assumes that time compression, and thereby ultimate value-added, can be effected in management consulting because business behaviour is reasonably orderly, in the sense of being subject to stable constraints. Businesses and other institutions in society, just like plants and animals in nature, tend to be in a rough equilibrium with one another, appropriate to the stage they have achieved in the individual life cycle. Businesses, like species, interact with one another in a particular ecology; in other words, they adapt, to some extent, to one another. Mutual adaptations constitute mutual restrictions on one another’s growth. The effect of restriction is orderliness that permits prediction. Obviously, consultants do have opportunities to predict, to test, to modify the testing procedures used in response to learning, and eventually to compress time. The starting point for the most advantageous prediction is the consultant’s ability to perceive patterns and relationships more profoundly and accurately than the client can perceive them. In fact, it may be only predictions founded on impressionistic observations that are worth their cost, in terms of time compression as their benefit. If nearly perfect data are required in order to make an acceptable prediction, the time and effort required to get the data will rob the process of its contribution to time compression. Intuition Is a Keystone of Consulting That the impressionistic conceiving of patterns and relationships tends to justify the special role of the consultant is suggested by a comparison of typical consulting behavior with typical academic and journalistic behavior. Academics tend to move in little steps, to require rigorous proof and perfect data. Incremental movement is a consequence of the way in which schools of thought arise and are maintained within academia. A school of like-minded academics may exist for two or three generations before it collapses. The members make common assumptions, explore the nuances of only selected themes, and permit little deviation from school standards. Any changes in agenda, perspective, or priorities that a school will permit are minimal and accordingly incremental. What is slowly being worked out—or at least attempted—in such a school is sufficient means of proof and data that are irrefutable. When academics compress time, they do it by making impressionistic leaps, like anybody else. Academics can make major contributions to time compression in another way, however, by accumulating the con- fumed results of their own intuitive leaps and of many other people— and then teaching these results to students. In early stages of mastery, students can in a few days or weeks recapitulate intellectual development that took lifetimes originally to develop. In this sense, the MBA program plays its own kind of role in compressing time. Journalists do not bring about very much time compression, either. Like academics, they want the facts, but unlike academics, they tend to treat facts very naively or very manipulatively. It is rare for journalists to discern an inherent fundamental pattern in the facts they obtain that can help effect time compression. This is so because they usually do not look for fresh patterns. If journalists decide to use an interpretive pattern at all, it tends to be an imposed preconception. It is, in Henderson’s judgment, the social purpose and ultimate business rationale of consulting to find puzzles that have not been solved and that, if they were solved, would compress time for clients, puzzles that, therefore, should be solved; and to see to it that they are solved, in trial and in practice. Consultants Should Collaborate Propagating solutionsSharing concepts and conceptual frameworksPolishing one another’s ideasSharing dataDisseminating resultsUsing modern information systems more effectively The result of greater consultant collaboration, Henderson believes, would be to amass and apply knowledge to achieve further time compression, for the benefits of clients and for the survival of consulting as a socially beneficial activity. The collaboration will beget heightened creativity. Creativity without One person, usually the founder, generates and develops leads (one cohesive group) One person assigns leads to individual case leaders or assignment managers (subdivision of groups has begun) renewal and acceleration lapses into a routine. At that point, consulting loses its justification. Henderson’s views on proprietary positions and patents are consistent with his advocacy of collaboration. Good consulting firms, like individual consultants, develop their skills patiently and protect their energies for themselves, often by trying to keep their ideas restricted to the use only of their own clients. Though there are exceptions to the rule and a level of specificity which in any case may deserve protection, in general, consultants should not take proprietary postures on their own behalf. In Henderson’s view, the tendencies that consultants exhibit to cancel each other out are self-defeating, because they weaken the one benefit that consultants must all do everything they can to strengthen: time compression. Consultants, in Henderson’s judgment, are the only business practitioners with direct access to evolutionary processes, the continuous opportunity to be creative, and the right to use all that they learn. He suggests that consultants have a concomitant obligation to disseminate results, in addition to the day-by-day rewards that are inherent in consulting such as when a client pays the bill and continues to entrust some of the other problems to the consultant. Can consultants dare to take the risk of sharing what they are learning? They can if they are the best. “Those truly the best realize that remaining in the role of spiritual leadership demands constant change.” The best idea is soon surpassed, at least in part. Furthermore, no two good consultants will have identical perceptions, nor will one viable firm really endanger another. In consulting, as in other kinds of business, “no two competitors can make their living in exactly the same way and continue to coexist.” It is important for each firm in its own way to maintain the actual position of low-cost producer. The next section considers some of the special challenges that con- made up of small groups is unstable. Each small group has its own tendency to behave self-sufficiently and to create its own culture. The groups tend to compete with each other, to spin-off, and to self-destruct. It is paradoxical that they cause the fundamental management problems within the consulting firm. It might seem a good management practice to keep people busy, by, for example, giving them all leads to follow. Leads, however, should be given only to the busiest people. It is another paradox that giving leads to the less busy will destroy a business, while giving leads to those who are already busy will build business.Cost centers and profit centers in consulting firms are identical in the sense that they are made up of the same people. But for management purposes, profit centers and cost centers have to be recognized as being only loosely coupled. The principles and processes by which the costs and values of consulting work are calculated have little or no relationship to one another. These paradoxes can be resolved if we understand the conditions for making a professional service organization succeed. We present Henderson’s description of these conditions in the categories of developmental stages, recruiting and building a working organization, marketing, and general administrative principles. One paradox will remain, however, at least within this article. Though he is surely a major apostle, if not the messiah, of business strategy, Henderson embedded what he had to say about managing a consulting business in the vocabulary and concepts of human and organizational behaviour, only occasionally referring to strategic concepts as such. Let us turn first, however, to the one clearest application in his discussion of one of the strategic concepts now in vogue, the developmental morphology of the firm-in this case, a management consulting firm. The Way Good Firms Grow Internal Identifier One person, usually the founder, generates and develops leads (one cohesive group)One person assigns leads to individual case leaders or assignment managers (subdivisionof groups has begun)Each group generates leads within its own bailiwick (groups begin to have viability)Groups continue to form and to subdivide, dissolve, or spin-off (total number of groups changes slowly)Groups shrink in size, number, and activity The developmental stages in a consulting firm are defined by who gets the leads to new business and who develops them. The founder both obtains the leads and develops them for the embryonic firm. Later on, though the founder is still mainly responsible for acquiring leads, others share in their development. If growth occurs, then project leaders, having developed leads assigned to them into successful cases, become able to generate and acquire leads for themselves. The firm then progresses to the next stage of growth, characterized by the formation of potentially numerous groups of consultants, which operate in some respects autonomously. In the mature consulting firm, spin-offs occur as some of the groups that form around particular case leaders become strong and ambitious enough to make it on their own, become disaffected, or are run off because they become threatening to the firm or its proprietors in some way. Growth, therefore, depends on having and developing highly qualified case leaders who are capable of sustaining very good personal chemistry within their groups and with their clients. In structural terms, a fully developed consulting unit consists of ten to a dozen staff members and a management structure of three closely collaborating officers. Growing groups eventually have to subdivide, simply because of group dynamics. A group of more than 15 consultants is no longer a society but an aggregation of role players. Or to say the same thing another way, communications difficulties are proportional to the sum of the pairs of persons in the group. Typical natural growth occurs by subdivision of successful existing units. Merged firms that are not mutually assimilated fall into internal conflict and use up their energy— the energy that could otherwise be used to grow. If, on the other hand, the merger does not call for actual assimilation, there will be no synergy—no net increase in available energy. As in a marriage, so in a merger of consulting firms or groups: initial differences and conflicts will be surmounted only if mutual need is strong and growing stronger and if increasing face-to-face interaction ultimately generates a common, shared culture. All kinds of business and industrial mergers are hampered by sheer cultural difference, variability in clientele, differences in approaches and thinking processes, poor functional fit, and a sense of mutual violation (the professional integrity of the firm acquired versus the right to know the activities and plans of the acquiring firm). The barriers to a successful merger are high. In fact, all that is likely to be acquired in the long run by merger is almost incidental, though it may prove well worth the cost: a physical setting, a geographic foothold, legal rights, or (in foreign countries) the beginnings of acculturation. It is rare to gain and keep strong staff through a merger. BCG tried at least three such mergers, in Italy, England, and Japan, from which the preceding ideas were initially derived. In Henderson’s opinion, the accumulated experience of attempted mergers did teach BCG something about how to establish branch offices, and it suggested that growth through branch offices is generally more effective than growth by merger. Careful advance work will enable a good team to develop the business of the branch office with necessary speed and effectiveness. In Chicago, BCG announced its intention to open a branch a full year in advance and leased prime office space opposite the Sears Tower at a time when no staff were assigned and no clients had been associated with the prospective office. The Chicago branch of BCG flourished immediately. Growth by a branch office in this way can work because it is very similar to growth by internal proliferation of groups. Creating branch offices, however, involves new and somewhat different investment and operational considerations (logistical requirements, image building, and business development preparations). Successfully mastering the art of establishing branch offices constitutes at least a variation on the developmental stage through which the consulting firm is progressing, and may in itself mark the beginnings of a new stage. Spin-offs are to be expected no matter what method of growth has evolved. Spin-offs will occur more or less independently of overall success. The strong people who make a consulting firm successful will sometimes develop ambitions that cannot be satisfied or can be met only at the price of altering the firm’s behaviour or its management structure. In a particular case, it may make sense either to let an insurgent take over the firm, or to face him down, or to run him off. The continued viability of the firm (or the reputation of its founder) need not be damaged by any of these choices in a particular case and may be enhanced, so long as it is obvious that whatever consulting firms result all came from the same source. Henderson recommends keeping in touch with those groups that spin-off. He says he occasionally sees the leaders of all those firms that seceded from BCG or were otherwise assembled among former BCG people. He wants to be on good terms with them. Indeed, he says, it may make sense if the opportunity arises to buy some of the stock of seceding organizations. Table 1 summarizes the portion of Henderson’s thinking about developmental stages just described. It emphasizes some of the crucial issues in the internal management of the human resources that constitute a consulting firm. Is there inherent superiority in firms of a particular size? Very small firms can be exciting places to work because they are flexible, even volatile, in their behaviour. But small firms are less effective consulting instruments than middle-sized firms, though easier to manage, in Henderson’s judgment. On the other hand, Henderson believes that large firms tend to be rigid, but they are able to undertake assignments that smaller firms cannot handle; so they, too, can be justified and can be operated profitably. Table 2 summarizes Henderson’s expressed judgments, in particular the conclusion that it is possible to develop a defensible position for consulting firms in all three size categories. Managing the Firm’s Growth Henderson had to contend with corporate invisibility in order to hire BCG’s first professional staff. Eventually, he applied the same principles to recruiting as to business development: Build an image, provide excitement, and make it dramatically obvious that the highly qualified simply cannot afford to pass you by. Rather quickly, Henderson settled on some straightforward principles for recruiting MBAs: Appeal to ambition, assure candidates of the quality of the BCG leadership and offer starting salaries 20 percent above those being offered by McKinsey. Enough candidates could be attracted, once BCG got started with recruiting. The problem was to get the right candidates to identify themselves, since the distinctions among interested applicants could not be drawn in interviews and certainly not in 20-minute preliminary interviews at business schools. So Henderson used such provocative devices as magazine advertisements suggesting how few people were truly qualified and asserting heavy burdens, adventure, and big pay for that rare few who belonged. The idea was to get applicants to self-select and to continue the process of self-selection as people joined the company, gained experience, and worked their way toward seniority. Henderson acknowledges that this recruiting strategy was a penetration strategy, not a long-term policy. Competition for highly regarded MBA candidates ultimately turned the business school faculties against consultants, after the consulting firms came to be big attractions and major winners of new MBA graduates of prestigious schools during the 1970s. The glamorization of consulting resulted in 25 to 30 percent of the graduates from some schools entering the field. It also attracted national publicity, which strengthened the conviction that consulting firms hired the best of the best. Although many clients resented the competition, the result was increased marketability for consulting firms and also for their staff and alumni. In a sense, this recruiting strategy exemplified the dynamics and multiple, hidden, delayed consequences of any good strategy. The young graduates were being paid well; they were also expected to be very productive and to learn very fast. The corollary was that BCG appointed many officers in their early thirties. Promotions offered explicit reasons and explicit steps for people to go through in really “joining up” with BCG. Promotions perpetuated the mutual dedication of a group of consultants to one another and the firm. In Henderson’s view, a person either joined the firm wholeheartedly or that person should leave— indeed, be driven away if necessary. The impact of generous starting salaries on the salary structure at BCG was less than might be imagined. During his years at the helm, Henderson’s policy was annually to lift the trend-line salary paid to consulting staff only a half percent more than the current increase reported in the GNP. But BCG’s trend line for salary was a carefully calculated curve that represented increased value with increased experience. This salary policy was based on the assumption that the real value of the consulting firm is the lead professional whose value goes up with experience, the rest of the firm existing mainly to leverage that value. The economics of a consulting firm are at least as complex as those of their clients-and less transparent. Selling the Firm to Clients Marketing consulting services becomes easy and natural if a firm is a fountainhead of new perceptions and approaches—a status achieved by BCG within a few years of its founding. Provocative ideas help, such as the concept of the experience curve. The taxonomy expressed in the four-cell business portfolio matrix offered fresh insights (market share history versus anticipated market growth). The taxonomy helped also to summarize and organize the reasons that companies fall into Wall Street performance categories like “cash cow,” “star,” and “dog.” BCG’s prospective clientele was initially the Fortune 500. Once client excitement created by the exposure to fresh thinking had begun to be reinforced by the media, BCG’s visibility shot up dramatically. It then became easy for Henderson to invite mixed groups of key people representing past, current, and prospective clients to conferences or seminars. Past clients offered powerful testimonials by their presence at such meetings. Many who felt miscast in attempting to bring BCG’s message to friends or colleagues were nevertheless happy to provide sponsorship by their presence. Such conferences constituted an integrating experience among past, present, and prospective clients, and tended to create-or promote-a chain of relationships in which the consultants also were linked. Apparently, contacts developed through conferences and other activities were numerous enough to enable BCG to choose clients selectively from time to time. Consulting obviously is “good business” when the consultant is in the position of turning away customers. The point Henderson stresses is that the consulting firm itself is in charge of getting into and keeping itself in that happy condition. One additional marketing principle is the advisability of building a relationship with clients, not just carrying out projects for them. This principle harks back to the small groups in which the consulting firm is to be organized. Compact, long-lived groups develop very long collective memories over long-standing relationships with clients. Strong group leadership mobilizes these memories in maintaining and developing those relationships with a limited number of client firms to whom the members of the group become well known. A management policy that demands continuous relationship as a success criterion quite gracefully guarantees work that the client will deem effective and generally acceptable. The basis for defining these groups’ boundaries can be geographic, structural (e.g., by industry), functional, disciplinary, or otherwise. The most important issue to be decided, ultimately, is the basis for the continuing relationships. But that issue will be decided by opportunity seized, practice conducted, reflection, prediction, observation, and correction, rather than by abstract thinking. Once a new consulting group is established within a firm of consultants, only about one-third of its total volume should be new business; two-thirds of the business it does should be based on existing clients and the firm’s deepening relationships with them. What forces some particular type or purpose of relationship to emerge, however, is the fact that a nearby boundary exists, so that mere hunting and gathering will not suffice and cultivation must begin. The power to set boundaries around the constituted consulting groups within the firm is, accordingly, among the principal motivational, marketing, and developmental tools available to its management. Notes on Administrative Principles Consulting firms develop management systems, which may vary considerably and which presumably reflect the individual requirements of each firm. Behind the system that Henderson discussed there seem to have been principles or rules of thumb, consistent with Henderson’s views on the nature of a professional service business. The administrative challenge, of course, is to take full advantage of the enthusiasm of professional people and to evoke and channel that enthusi asm while not exceeding a maximum affordable cost. Henderson suggested five principles for doing this. First of all: Tie consulting staff pay patterns to client billings. Make the feedback between cause and effect as direct as possible, and minimize the politics and subjective evaluations of hierarchical judgSecond: Keep the support staff at or below a ratio of one support to two consulting staff. If the pay of consultants is to be tied to billings, consultants must also feel that management is doing a good job of cost control by keeping the support staff lean. However, there is an obviously related requirement to provide high-quality support that is at least equally important. Good people can use and will demand excellent support.Third: Let the officers in charge of particular projects and client relationships use anyone they choose, in any group in the firm, to help accomplish their contracted work. But hold the officer in charge to the budget established at the outset. In other words, never let it be an excuse for any failure, including cost overrun, that a case leader or assignment manager was forbidden to have access to the resources But give all staff the choice of what they want to work on and with whom. Provide maximum personal freedom.Fourth: In making changes in policy or practice, do not act just because you can—if your job is to manage anything, including a consulting firm or a part of it. Recognize how difficult it is to grasp the new factors in a situation or properly weigh the elements that are beyond your own personal experi Study the business, the organization, the people. Try out partial solutions, bits and pieces, so that reactions to them provide clues that enable you to reach your own conclusions—conclusions you know before your people know them. Season the conclusions inside your own mind until consensus becomes possible. First prepare, then act. The corollary, however, is that the leader must act, on the basis of that broader view that the leader alone is obliged to express. The necessity to act requires special emphasis. “Avoidance management” is endemic in professional service organizations, according to Henderson. While it is perhaps understandable to want not to cope with issues that are part and parcel of a business that consists of people and their relationships, the results of avoidance are almost inevitably destructive. Leadership goes to those who do best those things that the organization feels to be the most important. Failure to face the difficult and controversial is a failure of leadership. Leadership means responsibility for maintaining foresight, for achieving consensus on goals, and for establishing cooperation. Popularity, power, or persuasiveness are not necessarily leadership; responsibility for achieving the goals of those led is the essential justification for entrusting leadership to anyone. Conclusion Bruce Henderson’s opinions about consulting constitute a coherent system of ideas. These ideas have utility for all of us who are practitioners and students of consulting, whether or not we agree with them. Henderson’s account of the beneficial effects consulting can have and what consultants do in order to achieve those effects should stimulate others to share their views. Homer J. Hagedorn is the head of Arthur D. Little, Inc. ’s Organizational and Managerial Effectiveness Section. Before joining ADL in 1966, he was assistant to the director and project leader at the Institute of Naval Studies. Before that he was on the staff of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory as assistant director of professional personnel and administrator of a graduate study program. Dr. Hagedorn received the Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He spent a postdoctoral year as a Fulbright Fellow at the London School of Economics, primarily studying relationships between selected technical innovations and management controls in the British aircraft industry—essentially a study of the limits and possibilities inherent in business strategy.