– But not for the reason you may think.

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It’s time to wrap-up the Mueller Investigation, not because they haven’t found anything of substance yet, but because it is simply out of control with no end in sight. Allow me to explain.

I have been a management consultant in the Information Technology field for over forty years and I have met several consultants along the way. Ethical consultants have no problem defining the deliverables for a project, produce a reliable estimate of costs, and calculate a schedule which is all reviewed and agreed upon by the customer before embarking on the project. Unethical consultants are just the antithesis of this; they define no deliverables, they are not held accountable for costs, and fail to produce a reliable timetable of events. This latter type of project, or “boondoggle” I should say, is a gravy train for the consultant. I find it rather remarkable companies still allow such shenanigans to occur.

To illustrate, years ago I had a client in the New York City area who had a bad experience with a “Big 8” consulting firm (which has since been merged down to the “Big 4”). The consultant promised delivery of a new state-of-the-art system, but hedged at giving the customer a scheduled end date. Interestingly, they had no problem producing a monthly invoice like clockwork. This went on for two years where nothing of substance was produced. After much cajoling by the client, the consultant’s project manager finally announced triumphantly to the customer, “We have just finished Phase 1… now we start Phase 2.” “Phase 2?” the customer asked, “How many phases are there?” No answer was forthcoming from the consultant.

This is the same scenario being played out by the Mueller investigation. We have no idea where this investigation is going, how much it is costing, and when it will be completed. From a business perspective, this type of donnybrook is simply unacceptable.

The investigation was initiated by Order Number 3915-2017 from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein. Its prime purpose was to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”. Robert S. Mueller III was appointed Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, and the order was signed May 17th, 2017.

One year and seven months later, the investigation shows no signs of abating and has turned into a distracting political football. As part of Mueller’s investigation, he took over several FBI investigations involving peripheral subjects. Paul Manaford, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, W. Samuel Patten, Richard Pinedo, et al faced a variety of charges in the hopes it would squeeze them to become cooperative witnesses for investigators. So far, we have learned nothing from this tactic.

Now that the midterm elections are over and a new year beckons, it is time to either reorganize this boondoggle, or put it to bed. This reminds me of another client I had in Rochester, New York who had hired another “Big 8” firm to design and develop a new manufacturing system for the company. A team of consultants were assembled and given use of a meeting room where they brainstormed for several months and tacked several poster boards around the room with various ideas drawn up on them. This went on for months with no end in sight. We were contracted to come in, examine the project and make some recommendations. After instructing their systems management how to tackle such an assignment, the systems manager re-assembled the “Big 8” team in the meeting room, he then walked slowly around the room tearing up and discarding the posters. At the end, he said, “Gentlemen, let’s get down to business.”

It’s time for the Mueller investigation to either “get down to business” or get off the pot. Unless, of course, there are parties who do not want it to end as it serves other purposes. Hmm…

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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