I hate buzzwords.
Consultants love to confuse the heck out of people by making up terms or using terms from other industries to describe problems in business. One of my favorites is the term “Corporate DNA”. We often hear many people referring to the “DNA” of an organization.
In some places this is shorthand for the organizational culture. In other companies it means the composition of a work group or department. Often times people use it with out any regard for a specific meaning. A great example of this is the Booz | Allen | Hamilton Organizational DNA Survey. This is a web assessment that asks twenty-five questions. The only thing it diagnoses is what Booz | Allen can pitch to you. Essentially this is a qualifying interview that helps Booz | Allen understand your areas of pain. Then they come in and tell you how you can fix your DNA and you pay them.
In reality DNA is permanent. It can’t be changed or fixed. If you have a problem with your DNA, chances are you’re dead (or you will be soon). Don’t be mystified by consultant-speak. Understand your problem and consciously look for a smart solution. Sometimes this means hiring a consultant. When you do, force them to break down specifically what work they will do and what problem their study will help you solve. In the end, hold them accountable. Make sure you can measure the effectiveness of their work. If their conclusions conflict with some of your team’s bets thinking, make the consultants prove their theory before you put it into practice.
Thanks to Strategy Central for the thought on corporate DNA.