I have been unfortunate enough to have seen some of them in action, in this case the PEMANDU crowd, and I must say that I wasn't too impressed with what I saw.
If everyone in PEMANDU had been so fabulously talented, and everyone had performed commendably, why do we still need McKinsey, Boston Consulting, et al?
How can he be so blind as to surround himself with these kinds of people when I have encountered others on the ground who are far more sincere and just as capable if not more so than these types that he depends on for advice?
For example, although I am a city girl myself, my social circle is rather limited and does not include the urban poor as mentioned by Demi Negara. That is inexcusable, but I can only say that I will attempt to rectify that as soon as possible.
However, if that is inexcusable for me, it must be more so for people who make decisions that affect other people's livelihood and the future socio-economic opportunities for generations to come.
Maybe PM himself would have all these photo-ops with poor people, but does he really understand these people's needs?
When I was a Management Trainee with a British multinational, I had to spend at least 3 months each in Customer Services, Marketing Communications, and Product Development before I was finally placed in Management Consultancy Services as an Associate.
In Customer Services, I had to understand our customers, their different issues, how to communicate with them directly, and how to address their problems.
In Marketing Communications I had to learn all the different perspectives, master the mass communications skills and tools required to reach a large audience of diverse backgrounds, to gain acceptance of our corporate messages.
In Product Development, I had to understand not only the products that the engineers develop, but also to relate that into real applications that can address real customer issues, while others had to translate market requirements to be incorporated into product life cycle plans.
I quickly became a full-fledged consultant once I mastered the art of the con, the use of communications tools to impress the audience, and there was one occasion that a customer actually asked for me because they remembered me and was impressed by my presentation.
In short, it is all about understanding customer requirements, meeting customer expectations and manipulating marketplace/customer perception, i.e. creating a need where there is none.
Frankly, I find them all nauseatingly fake.