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I'm Sorry I Broke Your Company: When Management Consultants Are the Problem, Not the Solution

by

I'm Sorry I Broke Your Company: When Management Consultants Are the Problem, Not the Solution Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Karen Phelan is really sorry. She had the best of intentions. She got into consulting because she wanted to help. She tried hard to optimize processes, develop measures, and manage human assets—to do business by the numbers, the management consultant way. The only problem, she found, is that businesses are run by people, not formulas and scorecards. And people don’t follow the formulas.

From strategy development to process improvement, target metrics, talent management, leadership competencies, and more, Phelan dissects a whole range of consulting treatments for unhealthy companies and shows why they’re essentially fad diets: superficial would-be fixes that don’t result in any lasting improvement and can actually cause serious damage. But consultants don’t seem to notice. If reality doesn’t conform to the theories, they conclude, something must certainly be wrong—with reality. People aren’t trying hard enough to make the theories work.

Using tragicomic tales from her many years as a consultant, Phelan exposes precisely how various management fads fail when taken from the printed page to the actual working world. The solution is not as glamorous as applying the management model du jour, just more effective. Over and over, Phelan found that there’s simply no substitute for taking the time to understand the unique dynamics of an organization, talking to the people who run it—on every level, not just in the C-suites—and getting them to work together better.

With a mix of cleared-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have “broken” your company, but she’s eager to repair the damage and make amends. She offers the perfect antidote to years of management malpractice.

Review:

"Former Fortune 100 executive Phelan skewers the mystique of management consultants in this entertaining guide for how not to manage a business. Drawing on her own consulting experiences, she portrays them as providing pre-packaged, unproven theoretical constructs that 'substitute for getting people to work together better.' Phelan argues convincingly that using statistical models to solve all problems exalts the process of measurement above the goals of improving employee efficiency and performance. Phelan's unpretentious style engages the reader in the unfolding revelation that prevailing business models are wrong. If, as she maintains, the misconceptions propagated by the consulting industry underlie many business problems today, a fresh approach is needed. Readers will be intrigued by her thesis that no principles apply universally, and that companies that hire consultants to think for them are courting doom. Her message that consultants can contribute to 'a two-way relationship' offers a hopeful contrast to her earlier warnings. Although Phelan belabors her main points, her caution against relying on 'one size fits all' advice rings true. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Karen Phelan is really sorry—no, she really is. She had the best of intentions and training in business systems, performance management and all the latest theories and best practices. At companies like Deloitte, Pfizer, J&J and countless consulting clients, she did her best do business by the numbers--the only problem is that businesses are run by people, not mathematical formulas. She and other consultants may have "broken" your company, but she's eager to repair the damage and make amends. Luckily, with decades of experience and pure common sense, her book is the perfect antidote to years of management malpractice.

Phelan focuses on how management gurus have fouled up the "people side" of companies—balanced scorecards, key performance indicators, process reengineering and dozens of other management fads are reduced to so much snake oil and bunkum under her withering gaze. With a mix of cleared-eyed business analysis, "in the trenches" stories, and hard-won lessons, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore.

Phelan covers the gamut of strategy development, HR, metrics, leadership competencies, and just plain managing people. She explains in gory detail why outside consultants are almost always the last people you should ask to improve your business. She also explains why the most important ingredient in business management is often in the shortest supply: empathy. In the tradition of classics like Up the Organization and Managers, Not MBA's, Phelan provides a breath of fresh air.

In parting, however, Phelan allows that consultants (like her!) do sometimes have their place--she provides a much-needed playbook that lays out the proper vocation of consulting and tools for managers to proceed with caution.

Synopsis:

Its the People, Stupid!

Karen Phelan is sorry. She really is. She tried to do business by the numbers—the management consultant way—developing measures, optimizing processes, and quantifying performance. The only problem is that businesses are run by people. And people cant be plugged into formulas or summed up in scorecards.

Phelan dissects a whole range of consulting treatments for unhealthy companies and shows why theyre essentially fad diets: superficial would-be fixes that dont result in lasting improvements and can cause serious damage. With a mix of clear-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have “broken” your company, but shes eager to make amends.

“Finally, an author challenging our broken management models who has credibility—she has been there. Karen Phelan not only explains why the emperor—our sacred ways of managing—has no clothes but provides us with insightful alternatives that promise to add real value to our organizations and the people that make them function.”

—Dean Schroeder, award-winning coauthor of Ideas Are Free

“Funny, irreverent, and outrageous, this book is making a deeply serious point: talking to actual people and figuring out how to help them work together better is whats going to make organizations stronger, not another PowerPoint presentation.”

—Rosina L. Racioppi, President and CEO, Women Unlimited, Inc.

Synopsis:

Its the People, Stupid!

Karen Phelan is sorry. She really is. She tried to do business by the numbers—the management consultant way—developing measures, optimizing processes, and quantifying performance. The only problem is that businesses are run by people. And people cant be plugged into formulas or summed up in scorecards.

Phelan dissects a whole range of consulting treatments for unhealthy companies and shows why theyre essentially fad diets: superficial would-be fixes that dont result in lasting improvements and can cause serious damage. With a mix of clear-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have “broken” your company, but shes eager to make amends.

 

About the Author

Karen G. Phelan lives in Hewitt, NJ.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Strategy development is a vision quest

Chapter 2: Optimized processes look good on paper

Chapter 3: Numerical targets are measuremental

Chapter 4: Standardized human asset management is a SHAM

Chapter 5: The Successful Manager’s Handbook is 609 pages long

Chapter 6: Albert Einstein was a poor performer

Chapter 7: Steve Jobs failed my leadership competencies

Chapter 8: Check your sanity here

Epilogue: Are management consultants bad people?

Appendix 1: A Measure of Truth

Appendix 2: The Method of Truth

Bibliography

Product Details

ISBN:
9781609947392
Author:
Phelan, Karen
Publisher:
Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Location:
Oakland
Subject:
Management
Subject:
Business management
Subject:
Consulting
Subject:
management fads
Subject:
Strategy Development
Subject:
CourseSmart Subject Description
Subject:
consultant, consulting, management fads, strategy development, human factors, performance management, process reengineering
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20130131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Business » Consulting
Business » Human Resource Management
Business » Management
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General

I'm Sorry I Broke Your Company: When Management Consultants Are the Problem, Not the Solution Sale Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.98 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Berrett-Koehler Publishers - English 9781609947392 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Former Fortune 100 executive Phelan skewers the mystique of management consultants in this entertaining guide for how not to manage a business. Drawing on her own consulting experiences, she portrays them as providing pre-packaged, unproven theoretical constructs that 'substitute for getting people to work together better.' Phelan argues convincingly that using statistical models to solve all problems exalts the process of measurement above the goals of improving employee efficiency and performance. Phelan's unpretentious style engages the reader in the unfolding revelation that prevailing business models are wrong. If, as she maintains, the misconceptions propagated by the consulting industry underlie many business problems today, a fresh approach is needed. Readers will be intrigued by her thesis that no principles apply universally, and that companies that hire consultants to think for them are courting doom. Her message that consultants can contribute to 'a two-way relationship' offers a hopeful contrast to her earlier warnings. Although Phelan belabors her main points, her caution against relying on 'one size fits all' advice rings true. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Karen Phelan is really sorry—no, she really is. She had the best of intentions and training in business systems, performance management and all the latest theories and best practices. At companies like Deloitte, Pfizer, J&J and countless consulting clients, she did her best do business by the numbers--the only problem is that businesses are run by people, not mathematical formulas. She and other consultants may have "broken" your company, but she's eager to repair the damage and make amends. Luckily, with decades of experience and pure common sense, her book is the perfect antidote to years of management malpractice.

Phelan focuses on how management gurus have fouled up the "people side" of companies—balanced scorecards, key performance indicators, process reengineering and dozens of other management fads are reduced to so much snake oil and bunkum under her withering gaze. With a mix of cleared-eyed business analysis, "in the trenches" stories, and hard-won lessons, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore.

Phelan covers the gamut of strategy development, HR, metrics, leadership competencies, and just plain managing people. She explains in gory detail why outside consultants are almost always the last people you should ask to improve your business. She also explains why the most important ingredient in business management is often in the shortest supply: empathy. In the tradition of classics like Up the Organization and Managers, Not MBA's, Phelan provides a breath of fresh air.

In parting, however, Phelan allows that consultants (like her!) do sometimes have their place--she provides a much-needed playbook that lays out the proper vocation of consulting and tools for managers to proceed with caution.

"Synopsis" by ,
Its the People, Stupid!

Karen Phelan is sorry. She really is. She tried to do business by the numbers—the management consultant way—developing measures, optimizing processes, and quantifying performance. The only problem is that businesses are run by people. And people cant be plugged into formulas or summed up in scorecards.

Phelan dissects a whole range of consulting treatments for unhealthy companies and shows why theyre essentially fad diets: superficial would-be fixes that dont result in lasting improvements and can cause serious damage. With a mix of clear-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have “broken” your company, but shes eager to make amends.

“Finally, an author challenging our broken management models who has credibility—she has been there. Karen Phelan not only explains why the emperor—our sacred ways of managing—has no clothes but provides us with insightful alternatives that promise to add real value to our organizations and the people that make them function.”

—Dean Schroeder, award-winning coauthor of Ideas Are Free

“Funny, irreverent, and outrageous, this book is making a deeply serious point: talking to actual people and figuring out how to help them work together better is whats going to make organizations stronger, not another PowerPoint presentation.”

—Rosina L. Racioppi, President and CEO, Women Unlimited, Inc.

"Synopsis" by ,
Its the People, Stupid!

Karen Phelan is sorry. She really is. She tried to do business by the numbers—the management consultant way—developing measures, optimizing processes, and quantifying performance. The only problem is that businesses are run by people. And people cant be plugged into formulas or summed up in scorecards.

Phelan dissects a whole range of consulting treatments for unhealthy companies and shows why theyre essentially fad diets: superficial would-be fixes that dont result in lasting improvements and can cause serious damage. With a mix of clear-eyed business analysis, heart-wrenching stories, and hard-won lessons for both consultants and the people who hire them, this book is impossible to put down and impossible to ignore. Karen Phelan and other consultants may have “broken” your company, but shes eager to make amends.

 

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