There are many articles out there that depict GSM as nothing more than a rip off consulting company. In many ways, it may be and in many ways, they were not. Let me explain from the perspective of a Staff Executive who is the actual consultant on the ground who fixes what the Analyst screws up and then tries to implement change with the client. There are many good folks out there who have worked (and work) for the company who actually did or are doing it right (which is what GSM needs to counter the very negative image that they have). I was one of those for about 2 years. Then I quit because the company's approach to clients began to turn meaner and less considerate and it was became much harder to effect change when one was simply trying to survive financially. Assignments became longer.(I never was able to enjoy the .. leave Sunday night and be home Friday nightoh yes, maybe every 2 to 4 weeks..maybe).
The Staff Executive, if he or she can transcend himself or herself above the GSMIC BS, can help a company with real and lasting change. If the company is hurting financially, he or she can assist that client in finding funding sources. Some cynics say that this because GSMIC has to be paid no matter what (true, a contact has been signed). A really good SE will do it to help the company. Sounds nave? No. It all depends on the integrity of the SE or the team of SEs. A good Project Director is going to run his or her project in such a manner as to affect change. It is a team approach. And yes, there is a lot of psychology at play especially with small to medium sized businesses. And yes, many times, the SE on the ground has to do some manipulation to gain cooperation. That is the tough part as many business owners are stubborn and do not want to listen.
What makes the whole process questionable is not so much the SE team on the ground, but the surrounding practices and GSMIC support staff that makes the process negative. The Analyst shows up (unannounced) and begins to use a hard sell approach to gain a contract. The fear factor is used and then the client signs the contact and in comes the team the next business day. Then the poor SE team has to undo the entire BS approach that the Analyst came up with and gain the client's confidence who by now has a major case of buyer's remorse. In many cases, they have good reason. As an example, many of the numbers that the Analyst come up with are totally wrong. (We used to joke about the fact that maybe the Analyst went out to the client's parking lot and used license plate numbers as financial data). You spend a lot of time the first three days re-doing (correcting) what the client did not do right! And the bills do pile up quick. Once you get past all of that, it can work. Note, the optimal term is can as long as the SE can deflect GSMIC headquarters and reverse the control so that the project works. That is the weakness; the SE does not maintain control. It is a game between the SE and GSMIC and between GSMIC and the client and between the SE and the client. I can remember on numerous projects, my clients would thank me with a lot of positive emotion and gratitude and in the next breath, as me how I could work for those *&^%$ in Chicago. Hard to argue with them.
The GSMIC is not a rip off in the traditional sense. It is psychological warfare. As a friend of mine said who also worked for the company, GSMIC employs guerrilla consulting. With small clients, this is necessary. The psychology is much different at that level than it is with an IBM.
In all fairness, many of the Staff Executives are very talented and interested in helping companies. Too bad that GSMIC does not try to maintain an outstanding workforce. If they did, they could reverse their image and gain more project hours.
I am not defending GSMIC as an institution. I am defending the SEs who really are the victims in the systemthe ones who are actually trying to affect change.