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This is a fairly naive way of looking at it. Often it's easier to deal with an external organization than to fix your own organization's behaviour.

In a lot of pathologically-managed companies or divisions, there is effectively zero chance of an employee being able changing the pathology.

I have heard of a few poorly managed companies pulling out of ruin by using consultants and third party labor to supplement their collapsing workforce. But I've seen poorly managed companies on occasion fire their executives and stabilize as well. People love to spend 7 figures on consultants and refuse to take their advice in favor of suck-ups that recommend that they just slightly change what they're doing or just sit in silence and continue to bill out. This is why I stopped consulting / contracting in the federal government space - nothing I do even if I was a company founder can fundamentally fix even a tiny fraction of the deep flaws. People got rich off of manipulating contracts to do as little as legally possible while the best at delivering were cut because they actually finished the job right. Reward for failure is a system that exists plenty in the private world, but only in public sector is it institutionalized.

This sounds about right. This is why I don't believe in the "industry is more efficient than government" dogma. Large organizations of people are generally inefficient unless extraordinary care has gone into the engineering and maintenance of the organization.

Are there any particularly memorable situations in your consulting career that illustrate the political realities of such organizations? Would be really awesome if you can share any :)

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