Nicolas Rousseaux

  • Before working for McKinsey & Co. in Europe for eight years and laun­ching his own consul­tancy, Nicolas Rous­seaux spent 15 years as a reporter and editor-in-chief for various media, from Le Monde to Le Nouvel Econo­miste. Today he is a regular colum­nist for Harvard Busi­ness Review. For more than 30 years, he has been analy­sing the trans­for­ma­tion of corpo­rate cultures around the world.

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    How long have you been part of the consul­ting scene?

    I am an observer of the market for over 40 years and a profes­sional consul­tant for nearly 25 years.

    Why does the topic fasci­nate you?

    To help and influ­ence deci­sion makers, build bridges between people, compa­nies and cultures, and to anti­ci­pate the future.

    As a connois­seur of the indu­stry – what do you expect to be the major change of the indu­stry within the next 5 years?

    Macro forces

    1. The number of inde­pen­dent consul­tants will keep on increa­sing signi­fi­cantly

  • rejec­tion of large orga­ni­sa­tions (growing desire for freedom or auto­nomy)
  • globa­li­sa­tion and opening of markets
  • reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of execu­tives at the end of their career
  • 2. The need for consul­ting will surpass the most opti­mi­stic fore­casts

  • urgent need for alter­na­tive solu­tions
  • need to coor­di­nate all change agents, “in & out”
  • top prio­rity: create new “busi­ness” added value for the client
  • 3. The lack of regu­la­tion on the consul­ting market will persist

  • unlike most liberal profes­sions, consul­ting evolves in a comple­tely open market, which is the ulti­mate expres­sion of compe­ti­tive capi­ta­lism
  • price and repo­si­tory varia­tions will follow the bursting and disso­lu­tion of demand, both upward and down­ward
  • a wide segmen­ta­tion of the market will happen, depen­ding on the level of noto­riety and the ability of each consul­tant to satisfy the demand
  • 4. Digital media will make privi­leged data acces­sible and will acce­le­rate the globa­li­sa­tion of the market

  • with the “Wiki­strat”, conven­tional consul­ting is trans­formed into a self-service, whose open and low-cost access will lead to the emer­gence of other custo­mised forms of services with higher added values
  • whatever the multi­pli­city of the pecu­niary value asso­ciated with the concept of consul­ting, depen­ding on national cultures, the acce­le­rated circu­la­tion of ideas ampli­fies the risk of landing unpre­dic­table compe­ti­tion
  • Micro forces

    5. The globa­li­sa­tion of the inde­pen­dent consul­ting will favour the informal grou­ping of smaller struc­tures

  • the sophi­sti­ca­tion, the reac­tivity, the cohe­rence of services and “tailor-made” services already bring isolated and comple­men­tary struc­tures closer (see plat­form pheno­menon)
  • this move­ment will tend to be managed inter­na­tio­nally, as soon as possible, in order to resist the counter-attacks of major indu­strial networks of the sector
  • 6. Consul­ting compen­sa­tion will be based on a shared esti­mate of the final value created for the client, rather than on a daily rate base

  • ROI will be calcu­lated based on the nature of the turnover, the gene­rated income and the emotional and expe­ri­en­tial quality of the rela­ti­onship between the company and its consul­tants
  • only junior consul­tants, subcon­trac­tors, and trai­ning or coaching consul­tants will still be engaged according to a more or less homo­ge­neous rates table
  • new forms of contrac­ting (e.g. subscrip­tion) and remu­ne­ra­tion (e.g. acqui­si­tion of shares) will emerge
  • 7. Visi­bi­lity of consul­ting will go beyond the strict B-to-B frame­work in order to enter the B-to-C frame­work

  • the indi­vi­dua­li­sa­tion of the profes­sion and the import­ance of inter-personal rela­tions will be no excep­tion from the general trend – without being contra­dic­tory with a parallel increase in the need to create commu­nities of consul­tants cross-sectoral and trans-profes­sional
    Invi­sible Forces
  • 8. Maste­ring stra­tegic marke­ting will make the diffe­rence in a hyper-compe­ti­tive consul­ting market

  • the gravity centre of posi­tio­ning will rotate around the ability of consul­tants to get people talking about them at the right moment, to the right people, with the right pace of provi­ding infor­ma­tion and adequate argu­ments
  • 9. Consul­ting will remain a real “job” but it will favour crea­ti­vity over expe­ri­ence

  • the ability to find unique solu­tions which have a direct impact and can create busi­ness will be what matters, not the age or expe­ri­ence of the consul­tant
  • 10. Open and conti­nuous inno­va­tion of consul­ting will replace the multi­pli­ca­tion of diffe­rent models

  • an increa­sing number of clients will soon realise the inte­rest of beco­ming living labo­ra­to­ries of ideas and intui­tions, in order to preserve their compe­ti­tive advan­tage
  • a re-contex­tua­li­sa­tion (via the stake­hol­ders) of the demand will become necessary in order to place the margins of progress in a trans­verse approach (no silo menta­lity)
  • prio­rity to imme­diate action on the justi­fi­ca­tion of the means by the end (legal tran­si­tion from the obli­ga­tion of means to the obli­ga­tion of results)
  • Which deve­lop­ments do you expect, espe­ci­ally for France?

  • Consul­ting will become more oriented towards busi­ness solu­tions by crea­ting new added value tangible to the client
  • Struc­tu­ring and conti­nuously enhan­cing stra­tegic and opera­tional marke­ting
  • Not waiting to func­tion in an inter­na­tional dimen­sion
  • Promote the recon­ci­lia­tion of comple­men­tary consul­tants in order to sell new offers, both multi­di­sci­pli­nary and more inte­grated
  • Maste­ring – at the very least – the strengths and poten­tial of digital media
  • To be orga­nised as an inno­va­tion (conti­nuous chal­lenge of finding new ideas, in-depth rese­ar­ches, perma­nent moni­to­ring of the World) and
    syste­matic economic intel­li­gence body
  • Which will be the buzzword of 2017?

    Uncer­tainty.

Nicolas Rousseaux

  • Before working for McKinsey & Co. in Europe for eight years and laun­ching his own consul­tancy, Nicolas Rous­seaux spent 15 years as a reporter and editor-in-chief for various media, from Le Monde to Le Nouvel Econo­miste. Today he is a regular colum­nist for Harvard Busi­ness Review. For more than 30 years, he has been analy­sing the trans­for­ma­tion of corpo­rate cultures around the world.

Want to get to know Nicolas Rousseaux?

Get in touch

Still curious?
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