This article was sent to me by a former colleague in response to my request for "introduction to consulting" material for our undergrad career fairs. I found it to be a particularly good framework for effective advisory partnerships and read through entirely before looking at the date it was first published in the Harvard Business Review: September 1982.

In the era of Digital Transformation, AI, and Automation, it's hard to imagine that a 40 year old (pause...yes, 1982 was 40 years ago...) thought piece could be germane to today's consultants and business leaders, but the Hierarchy of Purpose remains entirely relevant.

Relative to the pyramid of Eight Fundamental Objectives defined here, I'm consistently inspired by #7: Facilitate Client Learning.

On an exploratory call with a client just this morning I was posed with the question:

"How do we solve these issues when I don't even understand what's out there, what's possible, and what other investment funds are doing in their finance operations?"

What followed was a dialogue to educate on best practices in the industry, what I've seen, what worked, what didn't, and our options, ultimately concluding with a sigh of relief on the other side of my screen. Together, we broke down the problem statement from an overwhelming and opaque need for "Transformation" into something well understood, bite-sized, digestible, and actionable. The process was as important as the product to arm this leader with the ability to synthesize similar problems in the future.

Which of the eight objectives in the pyramid here resonate with you? Which do you think are irrelevant or de-prioritized in today's environment? And most importantly, what objectives are missing? Share your thoughts - clients and colleagues!

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