There have been a lot of links to the Worforce Management "A Who's Who of Gurus guide. The first one I saw today was onBrand Autopsy, so I am linking to their blog, although I also so a post about it on 800-CEO-READ blog.
Here's the issue I have with businesses that hire gurus (gurus, according to guide, can cots upwards of $100,000 per appearance) -- gurus are treated by many companies as a checklist item. When I used to consult, I always used to feel like a lot of the work we did was never really going to be implemented -- I could just envision some of the clients we worked for in their offices: "Ok, we brought in the consultants and they're done with that project. Check that box off the list. What's next?" My response always would have been (although I was never asked) -- "Perhaps the problem is that you just blew hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting to reach a conclusion that you will never implement. This is the problem with your company."
I worry (a lot) that many companies hire gurus because it feels like it's the right thing to do (or it's on a checklist). Many companies hire gurus that teach their employees methods that the companies are never willing to implement. I wonder what kind of frustration that breeds within the employee ranks. Specifically, I wonder how much more frustration (flat-out anger) there would be if the employees sat through a guru's session knowing how much the session cost and also knowing that the new ideas represented during the session would never be implemented.
I also like Brand Autopsy's questioning how companies calculate ROI on guru sessions. If companies are just bringing in gurus to raise moral, $100K can get you private concerts by well-known performers that could have a significantly more profound impact on morale.