I’m The Consultant Your Boss Hired To Fix Your Team’s Problems

Illustration by Shane Swinnea

*This originally appeared on Slackjaw, March 2024.

Let’s just give everyone another minute here, then we’ll get started. 

Where’s everyone located? Oh, neat. My brother lived in Phoenix in the 90s for almost an entire month. The weather there is crazy. Just wait five minutes, right?

*Clears throat*

 Okay, looks like everyone else is here. I think Russell was going to join. 

Wait, looks like he declined the invite…Well, I guess we can get started.

Hello all, I’m Ken. Russell and I talked and basically what he’d like is to have me get the scoop on all things marketing.

Now, I’m not here to ruffle any feathers. This is just a way to get a fresh set of eyes on things. Remember: I’m the new guy here. Keep in mind that getting me up to speed will take awhile, because even though I’m qualified to judge your work, you’ll notice I struggle to use modern technology. This drawn-out process will take several months, and (obviously) take away time your team could use to just solve the problem you’re facing.

During this first call, I would mostly like to listen to you all describe the problem and verbally tiptoe across a field of landmines, because you think I’m going to tell Russell everything you say.

That’s not what I’m here for. I promise.

I am here to take notes in this recycled paper notebook I stole from an expo in Vegas. 

I am here to clear my throat loudly while you talk, then sip a bottle of iced tea. 

I am here to say things like, “Darn thing always does that” when you point out I’m on Mute.

During this call and future calls, I will begin most sentences with, “When I was at RolandCorp…”

You, of course, will have never heard of RolandCorp. One of you will google it and see their headquarters “Permanently Closed” five years ago. This will make you all even more skeptical of my qualifications, though none of you will say anything. Nevertheless, I will frequently make points about my time there and expect you to apply the lessons I learned.

So let’s outline the problem you’re having. Russell says your team built some campaigns that aren’t generating enough leads? Would someone mind sharing them?

Hmm. You know what? These actually…these look pretty darn good. I’m surprised to hear they aren’t performing well. 

Who’s the writer here? 

You don’t have one? When was he let go? Well, that’s going to have to change. Although in Russell’s defense, that ChatGPT can write pretty good stuff.

Still, these campaigns aren’t generating leads. Why do you think that is?

They aren’t live yet?

And when you say you asked IT for access — how many times? — wow. Well, that’ll do it. And one of you designed this entire campaign on a Canva subscription you pay for out-of-pocket?

Hmm. I’ll make a note here to check out “Canva.”

Geez, I wish Russell could have made it. This would all be great for him to hear.

Sadly, we are running out of time, but these are seriously great points you’re all making. Rest assured, I will address every one of them — except the fact that your boss is a fucking idiot. But I’ll be sure to circle back with Russell and tell him exactly what he wants to hear so I get made a Senior Advisor. Great work today all.

After we get off, I’m going to send you each an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. You’ll notice my page says nothing about consulting, that I still work at RolandCorp, and that my two-paragraph bio is written in Title Case. You will also see that my childhood friend Jeff has had the pleasure of working with me and couldn’t recommend me enough.