The Consulting Lure: You need to get what you paid for

“Come in to my Parlour…”

We made it to the end of a longish flight. The airport bus transfer stopped at 12 hotels before eventually reaching the end of the line. I was surprised it hadn’t run out of diesel, the place was so far outside the city. We were tired, dehydrated and cranky. Until we walked into our room. It was opulent and got the holiday off to a great start.

Tunisia Trip: We’d booked into a beautiful hotel in Tunisia and ended up in what was the best single hotel room I’ve ever been in. The kids had an enormous bedroom at one end. We had another bedroom with a beautiful view at the far end. In the middle there was a living area with every available electrical devise known to man to keep us all amused. The room was on the ground floor – beside the irregular shaped swimming pool, which was just a tad smaller than Lough Neagh. The staff were friendly and the food was great. Are you getting a picture here?

Hotel Spa: Between our room and the pool, there was a newly constructed spa. Every morning, sitting at the desk in front of the spa was Miss Tunisia. Well, if she wasn’t Miss Tunisia, she should have been. I kept walking past that desk and she kept smiling and inviting to me to have various exotic treatments. It’s important to support those third world economies, right? So, I told Linda that my shoulder was ‘acting up’ (old sports injury) and she suggested, helpfully, “Why not slip in next door for a massage?” Yes!

Darkened Room: I booked myself in for the next morning and was brought to a quiet, semi-darkened room. The day was looking good. 3 minutes later, the biggest guy I’ve ever seen in my entire life, a Sumo wrestler on steroids, entered the room and conducted a pummeling massage that was a cross between a Bear Grylls survival training and al-Qaeda torture. Linda, somewhat unsympathetic (I don’t quite know why), thought it was hilarious.

The Lure: A lot of consultants operate on the same basis as that spa. They send in their chalk-striped Generals to ‘sell’ the job; then they send in the Corporals to complete it. You believe that you are accessing great talent to focus on your issues. You end up with an MBA, but someone who is unsure about the rest of the alphabet. Now, young consultants have to learn their trade somewhere. And perhaps that inexperience could lead them to asking obvious questions that you’ve missed. Perhaps! In consulting, unlike most other businesses, you don’t always get what you pay for. Ask the key question before you buy. Who will be delivering the service?

On a brighter note, the slight limp I’ve had ever since that Tunisian massage seems to have almost disappeared! I sense your empathy!

Paul Mooney

PS We all felt good recently about being Irish as we watched the Olympics. Rory McDyer, our local travel agent sent me these definitions of Irishness …

Describing someone with longstanding, persistent and untreated psychosis as “a character”. 

Saying “There’s definitely no recession here!” every time you see more than … 5 people in a pub. 

Saying: “Ah but he’s very good to his mother” about some utter lunatic. 

TK Red lemonade and white pudding. Not together of course.

Your ma or da greeting you with the phrase “D’ya know who’s dead?”

 That mini heart attack you get if you go out and forget to turn off the immersion. 

Friends saying: “You’re not drinking??? Are you on antibiotics”? Wallpaper on your school books.
 Being Grand!

 Boiling everything in a huge pot for 3 hours.

 Learning a language for 12 years and not being fluent.

 Flat 7UP heals all illnesses. Calling Joe Duffy instead of the Guards.
Know someone who’d benefit from reading this blog? Forward it on or ask them to contact paul@tandemconsulting.ie and we will add them to the mailing list. If you’d like to have a discussion about management or organization development, give me a call on 087 2439019.

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About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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