Magazine article Management Today

A Model for Managing Change?

Magazine article Management Today

A Model for Managing Change?

Article excerpt

Vic Luck is a powerful advocate for his profession in general and for the experience and expertise that Coopers & Lybrand's management consultancy offer to its clients.

It must be said that he speaks from a position of considerable strength. The practice he joined in 1977 and has headed since january this year, is made up of over 1,500 partners and staff in the UK where in 1993/94 it generated income in excess of 124 million [pounds]. Coopers & Lybrand is the largest broad based management consultancy in the UK. It is, of course, an integral part of the eponymous giant professional services organisation which, through its member firms, deploys over 67,000 people on a global basis in 126 countries.

Luck's advocacy is made the more compelling by his obvious enthusiasm about the practice he leads and the nature of the work it carries out for a distinguished and diverse portfolio of domestic and international clients. He speaks of the consultancy as "a hotbed of diverse expertise". He emphasises "the stimulus, excitement and vitality of working with colleagues and clients to make Coopers & Lybrand the number one provider of performance improvement services worldwide".

He does not disguise his impatience with those who perceive management consultancy as an exercise in hatchet wielding. "We are invariably brought in to help managements succeed. Their objectives are often about growth; about adapting to change in a positive way that improves long-term competitiveness. This is achieved by working with people. Hatchets invariably cause chaos and discontent rather than the order and motivation that our clients seek." says Luck. "We can only succeed if we work as partners with our clients."

Luck prefers research to rhetoric in identifying his firm's unique role in a highly competitive market place. Surveys conducted during the summer show that in the UK, Coopers & Lybrand is ranked as the number one provider of strategic development services, business re-engineering, change management and financial management. Similarly, a recent report on the European consultancy market shows that Coopers & Lybrand has now moved ahead to take second place in terms of total consultancy revenue, behind Andersen Consulting -- a firm significantly dependent on the supply of IT software within its consultancy services for the maintenance of its market share.

Controversy will continue to rage as to whether those who advise on IT as independent consultants should also be suppliers of hardware and software. The recent Business Intelligence survey of the IT/systems consultancy market highlighted these concerns. The same survey identified the way in which Coopers & Lybrand is valued for the independence of its IT advice and its business-orientated approach.

Luck is not a man to be unduly comforted by the salve of encouraging independent research -- glad as he is to have access to it in developing business strategies for clients and for the consultancy itself. After the meteoric growth of the 1980s, the recession had largely halted growth in consultancy services and Luck's task is to develop the practice now that there are some indications that many national economies are on the move again.

The practice will, in Luck's words, "be recognised by the leaders of the world's top companies and public service organisations as business advisers who make a real difference, working in partnership to manage complex changes that radically improve client performance".

The populist management guru, Tom Peters has suggested that, in many ways, professional partnerships offer the ideal organisational models for commerce and industry. …

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