Management consultants are used to being driven to the edge of their seats by an extremely difficult client. “Can you just extend scope…although we don’t want to change commercials.” And, yes, not to forget that your attachment to them is as much relationship-based as it is based on quality of the deliverable.
So what about being hired as a management consultant by no less than Star Wars’ Galactic Empire? Talk about being driven to the edge—not of your seat but of the universe.
I stumbled upon this interesting question in Quora about what management consultants will do if they were to advise the Galactic Empire. I don’t need to be guided by the Force to know how much trouble I’m in.
As a management consultant, how do you go about this? Here’s how I would advise the Emperor.
- Assess the organisation’s level of performance
A review of the Empire’s operations and processes for the past 4, 5 and 6 episodes tell me that they have performed exceptionally. Not because Darth Vader has attracted quite a following, but because:
- they were able to contain the Rebellion’s opposing actions.
- they have strengthened their position in the Galaxy.
- they’ve kept their employee turnover low (cheers to the loyal Stormtroopers).
- Inform about strategies
While designing and constructing a mega weapon will help you assert your dominance over the Galaxy, the Death Star can actually be a bad investment for the Empire. It sure was expensive to construct and maintain. Lastly, it was designed to destroy living planets. No need to argue.
Furthermore, the Death Star has a pretty obvious flaw in the design, and it didn’t take long before the Rebellion got its hands on this vital information.
- Prioritise training of troops
Strangely enough, I don’t remember ever seeing a Stormtrooper make a bull’s eye. The weapons the Empire invested in have, sadly, only reduced the strategic and tactical skills of the soldiers. And what happened to that rogue Stormtrooper who suddenly snapped out of a trance during the siege at Jakku? Perhaps the Empire needs to rethink its Stormtrooper program. Maybe a new incentive program will do—instead of using fear to motivate people.
- Improve tolerance to failure
The funny thing about the Empire is that it upholds very questionable moral code. There is little respect for life, it thrives on corruption and it just decides to kill off anyone who makes a mistake (including consultants who make dubious advice…). So it would help the organisation and independent consultants if they can improve their culture tolerance to errors. This can mean progress for the organisation, help them take necessary business risks and be more selective in leadership.
Dealing with the Galactic Empire can be quite problematic for a management consultant who has to make strong feedback to a firm that blasts anyone who challenges their position to pieces. Who knows, with a client like this, I would likely be seeing the end of my consulting career.
When you know there’s very little chance of survival with a client like this, your indemnity insurance is likely your best ammunition (because something is bound to go wrong no matter what). And your firm would need all the help when your client suddenly Force-chokes you.
If you were to give business advice to the Galactic Empire, what would you recommend? Share us your thoughts.