(We saw this in the large manufacturing plants in the 1970s - particularly auto plants. Old-timers felt they were now in "the country club" and didn't have to work as hard. The newbies were supposed to do all the real work. So management kept hiring more and more people to get work done, with predictable results - quality suffered and labor costs increased. Oddly enough, law firms and I am told accounting firms work the same way - with "senior associates" leaving work at 3PM and forcing the junior associates to work until 9. Maybe a shakeup is due in that industry as well).
It would have blown up eventually, due to the inequalities in the billing and compensation. The consultants just jump-started the process. Sadly, if some of the partners had heeded the advice of the consultants, maybe the place wouldn't have come apart. But no one likes to hear advice like, "You need to take a cut in salary" and if you have an equal vote in the partnership, you'll vote "NO" to such a proposal, and wonder - like those factory workers - what the hell happened when you come to work one day and the place is padlocked and closed.
The good news is, of course, that the advice that consultants give is basically stuff you can figure out yourself for free, if you are willing to listen to your own gut instincts. This is, of course, the hardest thing to do. It is easier to pay for a seminar or a book and then take someone else's advice as since you paid for it, it must be good, right?
And as in a business, with a family, you may find members "vetoing" common sense advice in favor of their own personal fiefdoms. Dad wants to keep his Harley and the hobby car in the garage, of course. After all, it's "paid for" and "isn't costing anything" and is "an investment" - right? Similarly, Mom isn't going to give up her shopping sprees and her honking new leased luxury SUV. And junior tells you that you are rotten parents for not giving him the latest cell phone and video game console. All the other kids have them, right? He won't be popular in school with last year's iPhone, and that would just be the end of his life right there, because as we all know, being popular in High School is the most important thing in life.
And sadly, that is probably why so many people divorce today - which doesn't solve these economic problems, but amplifies them. So many relationships are little more than a race to the bottom, with each family member seeing what they can get out of the deal - using spending as a retaliatory weapon.
And maybe, that's where people need consultants. Because they won't listen to each other but will respect an outside authority.