The Boston Consulting Group senior partner Rich Lesser could be described as a classic consultant—if the description sufficiently emphasizes change and roll-up-your-sleeves client collaboration. While Lesser values traditional hard-nosed consultant analysis and guidance, he believes a consulting mindset that does not include a strong emphasis on “thinking about change from day one” is ultimately insufficient.
“The old paradigm of the consulting industry is that you spend weeks conducting an analysis, come up with recommendations and only then do you think about how they’re going to get implemented,” says Lesser, a core member of BCG’s healthcare practice. “That is not a success paradigm. The success paradigm is that you take the time very early on to understand what is required to make change happen. What ideas have already been tried? If your ideas are such good ideas why haven’t they been done before? If they have, then why haven’t they succeeded?”
Lesser’s consulting mindset has generated success in several areas, including firm growth, firm diversity and success in the healthcare industry. Since assuming leadership of the New York Metro office system in late 2000, Lesser has built the office into the firm’s largest in the U.S. (and third-largest worldwide) based on revenue and headcount. Women comprise more than 35 percent of his office’s consultants and continue to earn promotions to partner level at an impressive clip.
Lesser currently heads a team that provides services to one of the firm’s largest clients, a Fortune 100 healthcare company.