May 11, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
This is 25 years worth of experience talking. If you train yourself to act more like a consultant (a good one) the likelihood of providing incredible value to your employer will increase. I guarantee it. There are just a few fundamentals you have to get down and then practice them consistently.
1. Consultants know how they create value. They know their strengths and they know what they don’t know. They’ve done many self-assessments and know where they have to compensate. When they work in teams, they balance skills intentionally.
2. Consultants are all about balance. They know when to lead and when to collaborate. They know when to speak and when to listen. They are lean and mean and can balance efficiency with quality. If you can get this balance down, you’ll provide the kind of value that every employer wants.
3. Consultants can hold multiple perspectives. Territoriality can be a big problem in the workplace. Consultants usually have a primary boss which is the client but they also have to be mindful of other power brokers. Therefore, they stay neutral. They collaborate. They work towards consensus.
4. Consultants listen more than they talk. At least they should. By listening more, they gather more information to make a better assessment of the situation. By talking less, their advice takes on more value.
5. Consultants take full ownership. Especially independent ones. Think of yourself as the CEO of yourself, your space, your team, and your functional area. Then act like one. What would you do if you owned it?
6. Consultants know how to brand themselves. Certain consultants or consulting firms are associated with certain things. Period. What are you associated with? Think of brand as what they say about you when you’re not in the room. Then, act accordingly.
7. Consultants inspire and motivate. They don’t deflate. Ever walk out of a meeting feeling deflated because your colleague was so negative that it took the air out of your effort? Consultants leave the room in a hopeful state every time. Last impressions count.
8. Consultants are accountable. They go out of their way to seek feedback in order to improve their services and to make sure that they meet their deliverables. This quality builds trust. They are disciplined about timelines, budgets and priorities.
9. Consultants can tend the weeds and scale the treetops. They sweat the details but they are also right there with you when you are ready to think boldly and broadly. Ideally, you would straddle both.
10. Consultants care about presentation. They know that how things look matters. They know first impressions count and positive impressions lead to positive outcomes. So whether it’s dressing for a client meeting or the graphics on the Power Point presentation, consultants make sure things are polished.
11. Consultants hustle and haggle. They have to in order to keep the pipeline filled with work. But in the hustle, they learn stuff. They learn to network. They learn to market. They learn technology. They learn what resonates with people and what doesn’t. They learn patience. They learn to negotiate and they learn to compromise.
12. Consultants are constant learners. It’s the nature of the job and the name of the game. They have to move from project to project and with each new project there is a new challenge. Those challenges and the quest to always deliver the highest quality service, means they have to keep their swords sharp. That in turn means that their learning bank account is receiving regular deposits.
The dozen ways I’ve listed above are how consultants are consistently creating value. Not everyone should be or wants to be a consultant but everyone can work like one. And if you do, you will reap the rewards. I promise.
©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.
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