As a business which includes the dreaded word ‘consultant’ in the description of what we do, I was amused to receive the following tale by email the other day. I hope you enjoy it.
A lesson on how consultants can make a difference in an organization.
Last week, we took some friends to a new restaurant, ‘Steve’s Place,’ and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange.
When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.
Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired, “Why the spoon?”
“Well,” he explained, “the restaurant’s owner hired Smart Consulting to revamp all of our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.”
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare. “I’ll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.” I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter’s fly. Looking around, I saw that all of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So, before he walked off, I asked the waiter, “excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?”
“Oh, certainly!” Then he lowered his voice. “Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also learned that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of our you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.”
I asked quietly, “After you get it out, how do you put it back?”
“Well,” he whispered, “I don’t know about the others, but I use the spoon.”
I like the story because it demonstrates fantastically well the benefit of the advice of a good consultant through the spoon, the nonsense of the time spent recognising the spoon issue (probably costing more in consulting fees than the business would save in real terms) while parodying the fact that other consultants are prone to giving advice without actually considering the consequences!
As for Cowan Global Consulting, we don’t deal in spoons but if you are seeking common sense consulting in the areas of strategy, sports and leisure or sports sponsorship, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
© Jim Cowan, Cowan Global Limited 2010