Andrew Penny, November 28 2023

Navigating the AI Landscape: A Consultant's Perspective

You're stuck with us (for now)

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that AI, Large Language Models, and ChatGPT are the talk of the town. I've been to a number of conventions, seminars, and conferences over the last month, and almost every session, every conversation, every panel includes some reference to AI. 

As management consultants we are, of course,  leveraging ChatGPT too. We use it to speed up market research, distill dense documents down to the good stuff and even to help structure reports and presentations.However what AI, so far, is unable to do is ask the right questions. 

You've probably heard the buzz about "prompt engineering".  Prompts are what you ask an AI system to do for you. People who know how to ask the right questions are being paid handsomely for this skill. There's nothing really new here. Management consulting, like most professions, is all about asking the right questions. And it's not just any question; it's the ones that come from deep, real-world experiences in various domains. Now that's not to say that one day in the future AI won't be able to take poor questions, tune them up and provide useful advice, but for now, you're stuck with us consultants.  

You are stuck with us because we provide objective outside advice and, in our own case, having worked with thousands of businesses and owners and CEOs over the last 25 years, we have ready access to context that allows us to create very fruitful questions that we can then ask ChatGPT to elaborate upon. And, importantly, we can validate the AI responses (sometimes the AI responses are simply ridiculous). 

What we also bring is trust. Rather than trusting your business to a string of AI code, I believe most CEOs want to be able to look their advisor in the eye and ask: Is this right for me? Is this something we can deliver? Is this too aggressive for us? Is this aggressive enough? Can we afford it? And even, do you think I have the ability to execute against this plan? 

So, as I said, I think you're stuck with consultants for some time to come, which is good for you and, frankly, good for us too. 


Written by

Andrew Penny


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