The History of Consulting- From Business Consultants to Life Advisors
The common perception about consultants is of slick and sophisticated gentlemen showing presentations to executives in a glass cabin. Being a consultant who offers advice in all aspects of life, I can say consultancy is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of advisory services from business to personal life.
The need for advice or expert insights can be felt in all walks of life. Consultation is sought in order to make important decisions, be it personal life or business. But this practice of giving advice became a profession very late in human history.
Before going into the specific consulting types, I’d like to share with you some facts about consulting:
The History and Development
Initially, in the late 19th and early 20th century, management consulting emerged in the US. Back then, it was all about helping businesses with assembly line design and shop floor organization. The goal was simple- increasing productivity.
The renaissance of business consulting came in the late 20th century with the first wave of globalization and technology. With the coming of technology, rapid expansion took place in the business world and an expert consultant’s advice was sought more frequently by companies. Businesses rushed for expert guidance on using new technology tools, practices, strategic planning, organizational design, etc. to outdo the competitors. Professional consultants mushroomed everywhere offering specific and discrete types of business advisory services. Since then, the profession of consulting only went uphill. It became a full-fledged industry in itself and like every other industry, it experienced shifts and changes. There also came periods of economic distress when some experts questioned the value of consultants and referred to them as an unnecessary burden.
The Digital Age and the need for Life Consulting
The digital era revolutionized the consulting arena and helped consultants to better showcase their finesse. It allowed the consultants to have improved connectivity, global reach, and enhanced communication with their clients.
The landmark in the field of consulting came when the digitalization and globalization together changed in the global lifestyle, including the way people think. The global way of life boiled down to three interconnected elements: consumerism, materialism, and individualism.
The triad of consumerism, materialism, and false individualism caused human values to collapse. As a result, humane behavior disappeared. The false competitiveness and lack of harmony resulted in widespread mental disorders like unnatural human behavior, depression, anxiety, loneliness, dissonance and general dissatisfaction with life. In a nutshell, humanity, in its obsession of making a living, forgot how to live.
Coming back to the point, after the philosophy of materialism failed to ensure genuine happiness and well being for humanity, People needed a philosophy that can make them feel human and not robotic money making creatures.
The need for a specialist life advisor was being felt in various personal aspects of life. People needed guidance to achieve a holistic lifestyle. They no longer wanted to ignore personal and emotional factors. They needed a philosophy that can make them feel human and not robotic money making creatures. This marked the birth of an entirely new member in the already growing consulting family: Life and Wellness consulting.
“No amount of money and material can bring fulfillment and contentment in life. For that one needs to live a holistic life with a complete understanding of self, existence, and the purpose of both.”
From just a practice of advising businesses to helping mega-corporations, to advising human individuals in their personal aspects, the consulting industry has come a long way. There can be hundreds of types of consultants given how dynamic the field of consulting is. Here I have broadly classified consulting into two categories and their respective subcategories:
Business Consulting —
Simply put, business consulting is about suggesting, and amending strategies and means of improving the profitability of business enterprises.
The work of a business consultant is much more than just giving advice. Following rigorous research, analysis, and Q&As, a consultant comes up with the best feasible solution for the problem faced by the business. The process to come to a definite answer for a particular problem involves an in-depth analysis of the problem, extensive research, experience and above all common sense.
Business consulting is quite a broad term in that it encompasses services offered to businesses of different nature, sizes and processes. Here are a few of them-
- Operations consultants- Operations consultants utilize data models to help an organization streamline and improve the efficiency of its value chain. These consultants help businesses rediscover operations to unlock growth, reduce costs, and improve responsiveness to customers.
- Strategy consultants- Strategy consultants are essentially geared to render objective strategic advice to business managers and owners. Strategic consultants leverage deep industry knowledge and the right analytical techniques and reasoning. Strategy consultants work across all industries, including private and public sectors.
- IT/Technology consultants- IT consultants advise, guide, and lay a road map for sourcing, utilizing and managing technology assets and resources with the aim to help businesses achieve their goals in the technology-dominated times. The typical work portfolio of a technology consultant includes business process automation, digital risk management, system implementation, and IT enterprise security.
- Human resources consultants- Human resources consultants work to ensure that the company is effectively utilizing its personnel to achieve organizational goals. By developing an organization-specific human resource model, HR consultants make sure that the workforce is operating at a high level of productivity and efficiency.
Life & Wellness consulting —
“Making a living without knowing how to live has ruined the earth as well as individual lives”. — Anand Damani
The half-baked ideas of consumerism, materialism, and individualism have failed to give a happy and meaningful life to human beings. The reason being the belief systems and societal practices contradicting existential reality.
Owing to the unpleasant shift in lifestyle, the enormous flow of information, and the wrong education, the new generations are feeling disoriented in life. They are drawing conclusions like life is meaningless and absurd. That is affirmed by behavioral abnormalities like anxiety, depression, sadness, hopelessness, etc, growing in human beings.
“A philosophy, a way of life that can bring peace and resolution in individual lives and harmony in society is need of the hour.”
All human philosophies, ideologies, and discoveries remain incomplete and scattered and thus, fail to provide a holistic and universal system of society and existence. The knowledge of coexistence is a complete and logical philosophy that sets straight all existential ambiguities, human confusion, and questions unanswered before.
Being always happy and joyful is a state that can be achieved by studying and knowing the human being holistically. There is no place for aporia in human beings. Be it evolution, big bang, emotions, death, justice, relationships or any other topic, there is an answer for it. A logical, practical, simple, and understandable answer that is applicable to and practicable for all 7.5 billion people.
As a Life and Wellness Coach, I assist people in finding answers to these common unsolved mysteries and questions about their lives. Having understood and lived by the true knowledge of coexistence, I teach others how to live a holistic and fulfilling life, how to be happy in the present moment and work towards the happiness of all human beings.