The world of strategy has been deep in debate of late, because the brainchild of one of its best known gurus has been proven to be flawed, thus bringing the validity of some of his long respected theories into question.

Monitor Group was a strategy consulting firm set up by probably the most famous strategist of the last 30 years. Michael Porter is one of the highest profile lecturers at Harvard Business School and commands huge fees for public speaking and lecturing around the world. The business went into administration towards the end of last year.

So has Porter been teaching us all nonsense for all these years? Of course not, and his reputation in business schools around the world is unlikely to be tarnished by this development. Indeed there have been questions raised about whether his models were actually being used by the firm.

Putting the small matter of some much criticised work for the Gadaffi regime in Libya aside, what seems to have happened is that Monitor’s client work got a little bit too focused on the theoretical side of things. The suggestion is that the firm was pushing out standardised (high priced) services to clients who wanted and needed something more flexible and personal.

Monitor, it appears, lost touch with their most valuable asset – the customer. That’s not an uncommon criticism to be levelled at a consulting firm of course, but it’s an unforgivable one.

The successful modern consulting firm needs to ensure it applies practical and commercial experience to deliver value via hands-on projects with their clients. Collaboration, Innovation and Customer Experience are the key ingredients for success today.

Of course we’ll all use the wisdom and value of the work of people like Michael Porter, but let’s use these in the background and let’s also not be afraid to adapt them if that’s what the situation requires.

At the end of the day if a service-led firm doesn’t have happy and engaged clients then it won’t have a business for long. You don’t need a Harvard Professor to tell you that, although now we all know of one who could do….

Read more about this in a fascinating article that recently appeared in Forbes