Growing up at PW, we watched with envy (our at least our partners did) as Andersen Consulting (then Accenture) grew the leverage base – number of staff that reported up to a partner. 1 to 6 grew to 1 to 20 or better. Then they added a layer of Associate Partner and grew the leverage even more. The Pyramid kept growing stronger. Every other firm jumped in with similar structures. And recently offshore firms have taken the model to another level with their huge campuses filled with recent graduates.
So, when I saw this Accenture announcement they were trimming executive ranks, it hit me the winds of global change have been eroding the pyramid for years now. Clients really value the middle layer of staffing, and will reluctantly take the “school bus” at the bottom along with it. But senior executives who cannot show value are tough to park on client accounts and you do not need too many of them to manage staff or real estate or IT in a world of shared services.
So, you end up with the Meidum pyramid. May be odd looking, but far more aligned with the realities of today.