Consulting Essentials - Your role as an Independent Consultant
All of my "Consulting Essentials" from previous blogs have a common theme. Each one covers an operating technique that you should be using as an Independent Consultant. These are skills that will probably not exist with your client in-house and that will differentiate you from client employees. This Consulting Essential will expand on your role as an Independent Consultant.
The chances are that you have been hired to lead your client through a process of improvement or transformation in some area of the business. You represent an investment on which your client would like to see, or perceive, a return. Whilst this is probably not measurable until the later stages of a project (after implementation), your behaviours and operating techniques will go a long way to reassuring a client early on that its money has been, or will be, well spent.
So here is a list of the behaviours that I believe you should display as an Independent Consultant:
- Injecting energy, pace and momentum
- Challenging hard
- Being objective, not affected by company politics and bias
- Working in a collaborative manner
- Encouraging an environment of open and honest feedback
- Working in a structured way with good attention to detail
- Being delivery focused
And then there are those operating techniques I mentioned in the earlier Consulting Essentials….meeting management, facilitation, stakeholder management, effective use of PowerPoint, making things visual, managing time. To me these are some of the core consulting capabilities that are fundamental to your role as an Independent Consultant. Look out for more of these in future emails.
Clients’ expectations of you are different from their expectations of employees. Sadly, I have too often seen Independent Consultants blend into the background over time, forget what they were brought in to do and basically morph into Independent Employees. The potential consequences of this? Well, early contract termination or no extension, underwhelming testimonials and ultimately you becoming more dispensable!
So, adapt your behaviours and develop your core consulting capabilities to be fully effective as an Independent Consultant… and don’t allow yourself to transition into an Independent Employee.