Consulting industry competition

Introduction to Consulting Consulting industry competition


In this podcast we have some juicy stuff. It is like a perfect steak. It is not medium, it is not well-done, it is just perfect.

The story we will talk about today is a real life example of what consulting industry competition looks like behind the scenes. This is the stuff you never see because no one wants you to see it. We were involved in this. That is how we can talk you through the details.

We will talk through the narrative of what happened and then we will break it down to explain how response.

To protect the people involved we did not disclose timelines. Lets just say it happened recently.

A short time ago we received an email from someone saying they have a very interesting story about McKinsey and they want to talk to us about it. We looked at the email and it was from a public relations firm. We generally don’t take stories from public relations firms. We don’t take stories from any firms for that matter. We write whatever we think should be written. Yet, we were intrigued and decided to take a look at this proposal.

So we spoke to this public relations firm. They said they represented a firm that is involved in a major legal battle with McKinsey. They were willing to give us all of the material for that case if we would consider the idea of looking at it and, if we think it is of merit, write about it. So we said, provided that there are no expectations on the content, they are not going to review the article, and it is completely in our control, we would look at it.

They shortly sent the material to us. And we were expecting some basic stuff. Instead we received a significant amount of information about the case. Note that everything in that information package was alleged since a verdict had not been rendered. McKinsey could very well be innocent. That multi-national consulting firm were now going through the process of taking it to court. And what that public relations firm handed to us was not a summary of information. They handed to us actual information. All of the legal interactions between the lawyers of both firms. They included all the forensic analyses including background material not in the public domain.

These are legal documents. Which means some of it is in the public domain. And the owner of the documents had given us the documents and permission to use these materials as we pleased.

We never published the story. Why?

Using this story we also discuss how the consulting industry and consulting firms handle legal battles to fight competitors. It has to do with protecting competitive information. We also talk about how we, within FC, handle the protection of competitive information and have a broader discussion on consulting competition behind the scenes.

consulting industry


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6 responses to Consulting industry competition

  1. Thanks Abdel.

  2. Hi Michael and thanks for sharing your thoughts and interesting peace of the story. Ethics are nowadays so easily forgotten by even their most defenders. As always there is a thin layer between what we can do and that we can’t or better said, must not. A lot of known CEOs or even worse the whole top management of so many firms whether in industry or in consulting are failing to discriminate the limits and get used to drive at the edge of the borderline; the result is so evident, they get fooled by routine bias and step over the line once, then twice… All of a sudden the line is shifted and a whole industry or business ends up doing the same while claiming being more ethical than ever. You took the best decision, leaving no choice but being ethical not disclosing an ongoing case’s documents where even the authenticity is questionable.

  3. Hi Roshan,

    We have a backlog of over 500 videos/podcasts to publish so it is somewhere in there!


  4. I got the impression that there would be follow-ups to this podcast.
    Are there plans for any more on this topic?

  5. Thanks AM.

  6. Michael could also coach us on doing color commentary. I haven’t ever gotten so hyped up in the opening 5 seconds of any podcast ever… #justAnObservation

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