Welcome to the 43rd podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study.

In today’s podcast we will talk about general professional values or etiquette that consultants should apply on an engagement. We specifically discuss things that consultants sometimes do on studies that may alienate the client. And rather than talking about every single thing you need to avoid, we will talk about some principles. And these principles apply across every issue.

We also discuss how to address a situation where a consultant’s behaviour is incompatible with the firm’s professional values.

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

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professional values


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9 responses to Professional Values on Studies

  1. Thanks Michael, I appreciate your views.
    This reminds me of the quote:
    “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”

  2. Hi Ashish,

    While your upbringing will shape you I personally believe too many people like to believe this is the source of their primary values because it gives them an excuse to blame their parents! It is too easy to claim to have been a child and influenced by family, and therefore not take accountability.

    As an adult, we choose what/how we will learn and we therefore choose the values path we will follow. So, of course you can learn values later. It is only a question of whether or not you choose to do so.


  3. Hi Michael
    Thanks for this podcast.
    May I ask a question?
    In your view, how much impact does a person’s upbringing have on a person’s professional values?
    For example, there are certain things that one learns as a child – such as respect for people, consideration, ethical values, professionalism, respect for all genders, respect for all professions, respect for cultures etc.
    Can a person really learn values that they did not learn as a child?
    So a 100 hour course can teach financial modelling, but can a 100 hour course teach values?
    I am always intrigued by such factors. Personally I worked very closely with C-level executives and found that they give equal importance to emotional, rational and political thinking (that you explain beautifully in your videos).
    I always ask my self ‘how much of this did they learn during childhood’? What was the role of their parents/family in shaping their core values?
    So to summarise – in your view, how much impact does a person’s upbringing have on a person’s professional values?

  4. Thanks Davison. You can expect more on this.

  5. Hello Michael,

    You asked whether your listeners would prefer to listen to more podcasts centered around cultural and professional values vs. techniques execution and methodology mechanics. I truly enjoy your cultural and value-based podcasts more than others because there already exists an incredible amount of detailed material focused on mechanics in the Case Study and Executive Program, whereas value-centric expositions are best imparted in an anecdotal style better suited to the podcast delivery.

    Your podcasts are honest, concise and refreshing. The mix is good, but since you asked I wouldn’t mind hearing more anecdotes that speak to nurturing and safeguarding a high-performance and ethical organizational culture and value system


  6. Thanks Andreas.

    I always appreciate such comments. We will post many more podcasts on this topic and values in general.

    Happy Easter too!


  7. Dear Michael,

    I think this podcast is excellent and a very valuable lesson. The line of reasoning that the small and perhaps seemingly insignificant or not worth adressing at the time to adresss is very important. I have seen this kind of slippery slope in other organizations and it can lead to very difficult or embarrassing incidents. If you have any more interesting anecdotes or perhaps insightful ways of actively dealing with these value-based issues I would be very thankful if you are willing to spend time sharing more of them. Your podcasts always inspire me and give me food for thought, and often in unexpected ways.

    Have a great Easter!

    Sincerely yours,


  8. Hello Brian,

    Maybe. I think while the Millennials from today face different issues from their equivalent generation of yesteryear, relatively speaking, they are exactly the same.

    And the solutions of before apply just the same.


  9. Michael,
    Podcasts on both hard and soft skills are useful and needed.
    As far as professional behavior is concerned, I wonder if some of this is generational as well as a function of inexperience. Inexperience is a part since culture, both in a professional sense and outside of work, is taught. It is not something that is in the realm of “common sense.” Someone who is junior may not know better so they are going make mistakes. Even big ones like you described. Pulling them aside at the first opportune moment usually does the trick.
    The generational component comes into play here in that Millennials are more likely to blur work and home behaviors, and are less formal, than people of older generations. I know I was taught to keep work and home as separate as possible (Not easy to do sometimes) and there were lines that I was taught never to cross in a business setting. There are certain formalities in how you deal with people that I do not see people in their 20’s and 30’s observing. I think they are too used to having every part of their lives on instagram, snapchat, etc. so the boundaries between public and private behavior do not exist for them. I could be wrong here.
    One last thing. I read this in a book called “Extreme Ownership” but it makes sense. The standard is set by whatever you are willing to tolerate as a leader. I have to keep reminding myself of this too in managing a classroom.

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