In Stave Four of ‘A Professional Services Christmas Carol‘ we hypothesise about what will happen to professional services Firms who choose not to innovate, listen to their client’s changing needs or revisit their working practices.
The menacing spectre wearing a black hooded robe approaches Scrooge who kneels before him and asks: “I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?” The phantom doesn’t respond but instead points onward with his hand.
Squirming in terror, Scrooge pleads with the ghost to share his lesson, hopeful that he can avoid the fate of Jonathan Marley.
The phantom takes Scrooge to the heart of The City. Some businessmen climb out of a driverless car.
Scrooge recognises one of the men as the FD from Winifred’s business and overhears their conversation:
“It’s funny to think I was a client of theirs once… It was inevitable really… I’m surprised they didn’t go out of business sooner. They just wouldn’t adapt or innovate. The Managing Partner thought they were immune to disruption. They couldn’t see that our needs were evolving. Ultimately, we realised that we were paying too much for a service that didn’t add enough value. I suppose all their clients realised they wanted greater speed, responsiveness and control too.”
Then Scrooge recognises the other man. It’s Rob Cratchit. “I can’t believe I stayed at the Firm for so long. The culture had suited the Partners well for many years but they wouldn’t accept that the younger generation were not willing to subscribe to it.
Thankfully, Winifred always appreciated the effort I put into your Firm and offered me a job as an internal advisor. Good riddance I say…”
Scrooge begs to know the identity of the wound-up Firm, exasperated in his attempts to understand the lesson of the silent ghost.
Suddenly, the spirit points Scrooge towards a modern building in The City which has been obscured by newly erected scaffolding. Behind the scaffolding Scrooge finds a single sheet of paper stuck to the inside of the glass door. He recoils in disgust at what is written:
“Formerly the offices of SCROOGE AND MARLEY. For all enquiries, please contact the liquidator.”
In horror, Scrooge begs the spirit to help him alter these events. He promises to live by the lessons of Past, Present and Future. He begs for mercy and promises that he will change. As Scrooge continues to cry out, the phantom’s robe collapses and Scrooge discovers he has returned to the safety of his own bed.