Hobbling Prevention Checklist

Posted by Kevin Brady on Thu 29th June 2006 at 03:40 AM, Filed in Free Check Lists

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Once “Money Machine” Management Consultants /Software Houses get their foot in the door, they don’t just get busy helping you, they also get busy helping themselves. Finding new ways of emptying your bank account in the way that a spider eats it’s pray from the inside out is their game.

One of the well-trodden techniques they use I often refer to as “Hobbling”

The “Hobbling” technique (one of many) runs as follows:-

  • Get a foot in the door at any cost – Discounted fee earning work or some free consultancy.
  • Create a dependence on your company’s personnel so the client feels unable to make most basic decisions without your teams’ involvement.
  • Increase dependency by creating distrust between key personnel in the host organisation so the outside supplier is the only one believed /trusted. Key to this is “state of the nation reports” i.e. Audit reports on projects and processes etc.
  • Create a “firm within a firm” To make doubly sure that your ideas and proposals are going to be accepted recruit key host company decision makers into the “brotherhood”. In the past company’s I have worked for have frequently picked on key personnel with the following profiles :-
    • Close to retirement age and worried about money
    • Individuals with bad credit records. It’s is amazing what a credit search can show about the people you are dealing with, who is going to be cheap to corrupt and who is not. Remember, Tiny Rowland’s believed that “everyone is corruptible” (his experiences in Africa proved this) “It’s just that some people cost more than others”.
    • Disaffected people with grudges. Perhaps someone who, for various reasons, can’t progress in the company any further because of a run-in with a boss or group of colleagues.
    • “Wide Boys”. Key people who are always on the take looking for backhanders, free holidays for the kids, trips to massage parlours and strip joints. These guys are not preferred choices for hobbling unless very senior, as they are often perceived in the same way by their own colleagues and are thus often under suspicion.
  • The Inducements Once you are on the verge of creating a “firm within a firm” and you have got the key guys lined up, you need to buy their loyalty. The standard and often expected (some of these key guys already know the game before you start) inducement offered by the “money machine” consultancy /software house suppliers   is “Jobs for the Boys”. This is usually an offer of a future senior level post within the consultancy or software house at a massively inflated fixed term salary. The numbers of these “Jobs for the boys” and the types of salaries and roles on offer all depend on the potential revenue streams to be earned from hollowing out these host organisations.
  • Support the Guys in our Gang A key aspect of “Hobbling” is that the selected person/s loyalty to your fee earning endeavours must be supported in terms of assisting them in their current career and bonus aspirations within the host company.
  • How can companies /government departments make realisable strategic IT decisions concerning matters such as Outsourcing, Insourcing etc if the people within these organisations have been bought off by the suppliers? We have no hope of getting IT to deliver the cost /efficiency and competitive advantage gains promised, if suppliers are “allowed” to create “firms within firms”. Immunise yourself against this situation by using the following “Hobbling Prevention Checklist”“Hobbling Prevention Checklist”. If you follow this approach, your suppliers will have no choice but to focus on delivery as the only means of picking up more business. Good Luck !

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    READER COMMENTS:

    Love the term hobbling!

    Posted by Simon  on Thu 29th June 2006 at 10:02 PM | #

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