Posted on February 12, 2009 by


cIn my MBA program, the subject of consultants comes up occasionally. Consultants are basically people who are hired for their knowledge. A company that is having trouble with its processes or its hiring or anything else will hire a consultant to tell them what to do. One interesting side effect of hiring a consultant is that, by definition, you don’t know enough to judge his work–after all, if you knew that much you wouldn’t have needed to hire the consultant.

This essentially makes consultants unaccountable for their work. In a sense, they are the shamans of the modern age. Anciently, shamans were called on to parlay with the unseen world. They cast out demons, ask the spirits for rain, tend to the ill, etc. But how do you know if the shaman is performing his rites correctly? You can’t, because if you did, then you’d be a shaman and you wouldn’t be hiring one.

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