A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote
pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust
cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in an Armani suit,
Gucci loafers, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the
window and asked the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how
many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"
The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked
at his peacefully-grazing flock and calmly answered, "Sure."
The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his
IBM Thinkpad and connected it to a cell phone. Then he surfed
to a NASA page on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite
navigation system, scanned the area, and opened up a database
and Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email
on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes while triangulation
was being completed, received a response. Finally, he prints out
a 150 page report on his miniaturized laser printer then turns
to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep".
"That is correct, take one of the sheep,"
said the shepherd.
He watches the young man select one of the
animals and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd says: "If
I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me
back my sheep?"
"OK, why not," answered the young
"Clearly, you are a consultant" said
"That is correct," says the yuppie,
"but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required," answers the
shepherd. "You turned up here, although nobody called you.
You want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question
I never asked, and you don't know diddly crap about my business.
Now hand me back my dog".
Ambrose Bierce was one of the most famous newspaper
columnists of the late 1880's. He was known as "the wickedest
man in San Francisco" as a time when that town was a pretty
rough-and-tumble place. Although not as popular as Mark Twain,
his wit was just as satirical & biting. Case in point: The
Devil's Dictionary - a caustic set of definitions for otherwise
harmless words, written in installments for his column then compiled
in a book. Your library probably has a copy; if you like dark
humor, it's great bathroom reading. Here is a sample of what you'll
find in it.
- To seek another's approval of a course
already decided upon.
- In bad company.
Fault - One of my offenses, as
distinguished from one of yours; the latter being crimes.
Novel - A short story, padded.
Reporter - A writer who guesses his way to the truth and dispels
it with a tempest of words.
Lecturer - One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in
your ear and faith in your patience.
A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too
tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
Subject: Food Service Consultants
Last week, we took some friends
out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took
our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little
strange, but I made a mental note of this fact.
When the busboy brought our
water and utensils, I noticed that he, also, had a spoon in his
shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the wait &
bus staff and had spoons in their pockets.
When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Hey,
why the spoon in your shirt pocket?"
Well, he explained, the restaurants
owners hired Food Service Industry Consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers
to revamp all our internal processes. After several months of
analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently
dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately
3 spoons per table per hour. They reasoned in their Report that
if our personnel were better prepared, we'd be able to reduce
the number of trips back to the kitchen. This, they felt, would
result in a savings of 15 man-hours per shift. The FTE savings
would be 30 hours/day times 6 days per week times 52 weeks per
year, or about 4.5 FTE's. Overall labor savings is estimated at
slightly over $70,000 annually.
As luck would have it, I dropped
my spoon and my waiter was able to replace it with his spare right
away. "Ill get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen,"
he said, "Instead of making an extra trip to get it right
Needless to say, I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was
a string hanging out of each of the waiters' fly. Looking around,
I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from
their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse
me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"
Oh, certainly! Then he lowered
his voice, "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting
firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom.
By tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull
it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our
hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent."
"Wait a minute - after
you get it out, how do you put it back?"
"Well," he whispered,
"I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."
The next time you think your hotel bill is
too high you might want to consider this...
A husband and wife are traveling by car from
Key West to Boston.
After almost twenty-four hours on the road, they're too tired
to continue, and they decide to stop for a rest.
They stop at a nice hotel and take a room,
but they only plan to sleep for four hours and then get back on
the road. When they check out four hours later, the desk clerk
hands them a bill for $350.
The man explodes and demands to know why the charge is so high.
He tells the clerk although it's a nice hotel, the rooms certainly
aren't worth $350.
When the clerk tells him $350 is the standard
rate, the man insists on speaking to the Manager. The Manager
appears, listens to the man, and then explains that the hotel
has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center that were
available for the husband and wife to use.
"But we didn't use them," the man
"Well, they are here, and you could have,"
explains the Manager.
He goes on to explain they could have taken
in one of the shows for which the hotel is famous. "The best
entertainers from New York, Hollywood and Las Vegas perform here,"
the Manager says.
"But we didn't go to any of those shows"
complains the man again.
"Well, we have them, and you could have"
the Manager replies.
No matter what facility the Manager mentions,
the man replies, "But we didn't use it!"
The Manager is unmoved, and eventually the
man gives up and agrees to pay.
He writes a check and gives it to the Manager.
The Manager is surprised when he looks at the
check. "But sir," he says, this check is only made out
"That's correct," says the man. "I
charged you $300 for sleeping with my wife."
"But I didn't!" exclaims the Manager.
"Well, too bad," the man replies.
"She was here and you could have."
Who wants to sound like an idiot? Not us.
That's why we turned to Rutgers University
English professor William Lutz, author of Doublespeak Defined:
Cut Through the Bull**** and Get the Point. Helping us out
is also Brian Fugere, a principal at Deloitte Consulting and co-author
of Why Business People Speak Like Idiots. They're experts
at translating jargon into plain speech, which not only prevents
idiot-speak, but also applies a little truth serum to language
that's confusing, evasive, deceptive, self-contradictory or downright
misleading. Just consult this chart for some truth serum of your
1. "That was my first guess as well, but
then I really thought about it."
2. "You should see the hotel I'm staying at."
3. "Hey, I just realized that I was in junior high when you
started working here."
4. "I like this office space. I'll have them put me in here
when you're gone."
5. "My rental car looks nicer than that junker you're driving."
6. "Sure it'll work; I learned it in business school last
7. "So what do you need me to tell you?"
8. "Of course it's right; the spreadsheet says so."
9. "I could just tell you the answer now and end the project
early, but we're committed to a three month gig at your hospital."
10. "What are you, stupid?"
1. "I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of person."
2. "Do you pay overtime?"
3. "I hate flying."
4. "I'm useless without ten hours of sleep a night."
5. "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics."
6. "Do you cover rental cars for collision?"
7. "Stanford taught me that working in teams is great for
8. "I think three letter acronyms are for people too stupid
to remember the whole phrase."
9. "Two words: family first."
10. "Call it whatever you want, it still means firing people."
1. Referred to the first month of your relationship
as a "diagnostic period".
2. Talks to the waiter about a fractionated process flow when
your dinner arrives late.
3. Takes a half day at the office because, "Sunday is your
4. Congratulates your parents on their successful value creation.
5. Tries to call room service from your home bedroom.
6. Ends any argument by saying, "let's talk about this off-line."
7. Celebrates your anniversary by conducting a performance review.
8. Can't be trusted with the car because they're too accustomed
to beating up rentals.
9. His / her Valentine's Day card has bullet points.
10. Refers to lovemaking as a "win-win".
1. Can't stop using words that don't exist.
2. Worried that he or she who dies with the most frequent-flyer
3. Use so much jargon in conversation, that friends think you're
speaking a foreign language.
4. Has a constant urge to give advice on subjects that you know
6. Keeps seeing bullet points everywhere.
7. Able to fit the thematic undercurrents of "War and Peace"
into a two-by-two matrix.
8. Tires of having a social life beyond work.
9. Feels that a two-page story in Business Week is all it takes
to make one an expert.
10. Firmly believes that an objective viewpoint means more than
any real work experience
Ordinary brains: $9.00 / lb
Engineer's brains: $12.00 / lb
Doctor's brains: $11.00 / lb
Accountant's brains: $10.00 /lb
Consultant's brains: $97.00 / lb
Ordinary brains: $9.00 / lb
Engineer's brains: $12.00 / lb
Doctor's brains: $11.00 / lb
Accountant's brains: $10.00 /lb
Consultant's brains: $97.00 / lb
Asked to explain the high cost of Consultant's
brains, the proprietor said "You don't know how many consultants
we have to catch to get a pound of brains!"
"No problem, just let me in." said
the consultant. "Well, I'd like to, but I have a Higher Authority
who has different orders. What we're going to do is let you have
a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever
one you want to spend an eternity in."
"Actually, I think I've made up my mind.
I prefer to stay in Heaven." "Sorry, we have rules ..."
And with that, St. Peter put the consultant in an elevator; it
went down-down-down all the way to Hell. The doors opened and
the consultant found himself stepping out onto the putting green
of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club
and standing in front of him was all of his friends - fellow contractors
that he'd worked with or for. They were all dressed in tuxedos
and evening gowns, all cheering for him. They ran up and shook
his hand and talked about old times. They played an excellent
round of golf and at night went to the Country Club where he enjoyed
an excellent steak and lobster dinner. He then met Satan, who
was actually a really nice guy, and he had a great time telling
him jokes and smoking cigars with him and others in Hell. The
consultant was having such a good time that before he knew it,
it was time to leave. Everybody shook his hand and waved goodbye
as he got back on the elevator. The elevator went up-up-up and
opened back up at the pearly gates and found St. Peter waiting
for him. "Now it's time to spend a day in Heaven."
So, the contractor spent the next 24 hours lounging around on
clouds and playing the harp and singing. He had a great time
and before he knew it, his 24 hours were up and St. Peter came
and got him.
"So, you've spent a day in Hell and you've
spent a day in Heaven. Now you must choose - where will you want
to spend your eternity?"
The consultant paused for a second and replied,
"Well, I never thought I'd say this, I mean, Heaven has been
really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell."
So, St. Peter took him to the elevator where he went down-down-down,
back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened, he found
himself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and
filth. He saw his friends were dressed in rags and were picking
up the garbage and putting it in sacks. Satan then came up to
him and put his arm around him.
"I don't understand," stammered the
consultant, "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course
and a Country Club and we ate lobster and smoked some really great
cigars and had a great time. Now all there is is a wasteland of
garbage. All my friends look miserable."
Satan looked at him and smiled. "That's because yesterday
you were a consultant, but today you've become a permanent staff
member just like us."
The physician remarked, "Well, in the
Bible, it says that God created Eve from a rib taken out of Adam.
This clearly required surgery, so I can rightly claim that mine
is the oldest profession in the world."
The civil engineer interrupted, saying, "But
even earlier in the book of Genesis, it states that God created
the order of the Heavens and the earth from out of the chaos.
This was the first, and certainly the most spectacular, application
of civil engineering. Therefore, fair doctor, you are wrong: mine
is the oldest profession in the world."
The consultant leaned back in his chair, smiled,
and then said confidently, "Ah, but who do you think created
"Why not?" asked somebody from the
"I watched my wife's routine at breakfast for years,"
the expert explained. "She made lots of trips between the
fridge, stove, table and cabinets, often carrying a single item
at a time. One day I told her, "You're wasting too much time.
Why don't you try carrying several things at once?"
"Did it save time?" the guy in the
"Actually, yes," replied the expert. "It used to
take her 20 minutes to make breakfast. Now I do it in ten."
After a week the farmer came back to the consultant
and said: "My chickens continue to die. What shall I do?"
"Add strawberry juice to their drinking water. That will
help for sure".
A week passed, and again the farmer came to
the consultant: "My chickens are still quarrelling. Do you
have any more advice?"
"I can give you more and more advice," answered the
consultant. "The real question is whether you have any more
Good advice is something a man gives when he is too
old to set a bad example.
listen to experts. They'll tell what can't be done and why. Then
takes two things to be a consultant - grey hair and hemorrhoids.
The grey hair makes you look distinguished and the hemorrhoids
make you look concerned.
case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
expert is one who knows more and more about less and less, until
he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the
longest and cost the most. After all is said and done, a hell
of a lot more is said than done.
you consult enough experts, you can confirm any opinion.
Consultants to conduct studies can be an excellent means of turning
problems into gold, your problems into their gold.
The Mexican replied "Only a little while."
The consultant then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch
more fish. The fisherman said he had enough to support his family's
immediate needs. Then the American asked how he spent the rest
of his time.
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late,
fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife,
Maria, and then stroll into the village each evening where I sip
wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life,
The American consultant scoffed, "I am
a very successful business consultant and could help you. You
should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger
boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several
boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly
to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would
control the product, processing and distribution. You would need
to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico
City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York City where you
will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor,
how long will this all take?"
The consultant replied, "Probably 15 to 20 years."
"But what then, senor?" asked the fisherman.
The consultant laughed, and said, "That's
the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO
and sell your company stock to the public. You'll become very
rich, you would make millions!"
"Millions, senor?" replied the Mexican.
The American said, "Then you would retire.
Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep
late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your
wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip
wine and play your guitar with your amigos."
Again, the Deloitte Consultant politely declines
and tries to get to sleep. The PWC Consultant, now somewhat agitated,
says, "OK, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5, and
if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $50!"
This catches the Deloitte Consultant's attention,
and he sees no end to his torment unless he plays, so he agrees
to the game. The PWC Consultant asks the first question. "What's
the distance from the earth to the moon?"
The Deloitte Consultant doesn't say a word,
but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five dollar bill and
hands it to the PWC guy. Now, it's the Deloitte Consultant's
turn. He asks the PWC Consultant "What goes up a hill with
three legs, and comes down on four?"
The PWC Consultant looks up at him with a puzzled
look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his
references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches
the net and the Library of Congress. He hooks into the PWC Knowledge
Xchange (R), and consults with his peers around the world, all
to no avail. After about an hour, he wakes the Deloitte Consultant
and hands him $50. The Deloitte Consultant politely takes the
$50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep.
The PWC Consultant, more than a little miffed,
shakes the Deloitte Consultant and asks, "Well, so what's
Without a word, the Deloitte Consultant reaches
into his wallet, hands the PWC guy $5, and turns away to get back
THE VALUE ADDED CHICKEN
Question: Why did the chicken cross the
Deregulation of the chicken's side of the road was threatening
its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant
challenges to create and develop the competencies required for
the newly competitive market. PWC Consulting, in a partnering
relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking
its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes.
Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), PWC helped the chicken
use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences
to align the chicken's people, processes and technology in support
of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework.
PWC Consulting convened a diverse cross-spectrum
of road analysts and best chickens along with PWC consultants
with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a
two-day itinerary of meetings. These were held to leverage their
personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable
them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit
goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing
an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry
The meeting was held in a park-like setting,
enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically
based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and
unified market message and aligned with the chicken's mission,
vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation
of a total business integration solution. PWC Consulting helped
the chicken change to become more successful.