I meet busy people all the time. They’re the people who run from meeting to meeting. They’re usually running late. They start a to-do list, but they usually don’t finish writing out all of their tasks. They’re too busy attending to one emergency after another.
People like this are in a constant mode of keeping their head above water. As soon as they finish one urgent task, there is another fire they need to put out.
When I was a college senior interviewing with top consulting firms, I had two problems. Information about how to interview wasn’t readily available and I wasn’t ambitious enough to seek out what was there.
I went into most of my interviews cold, just planning to be myself. And I failed miserably. While I encourage people to be themselves during an interview, it is also imperative to be prepared. If you are interviewing for a job at a consulting firm, here are some tips to make the interview more successful. Continue reading 5 Tips for Consulting Interviews→
In my twenty years of consulting, I’ve seen many consultants come and go. Some decide that it’s not for them. For others, the decision is made for them. A client may kick the consultant off the project, or the firm may remove them as a form of damage control.
Every consultant struggles to some degree in his or her first year. With any new position, it takes time to learn the ropes. But some just don’t learn. I’ve written before in this blog about consultants that just “don’t get it.” These are the things those consultants do – or don’t do – to cause them to fail early on. Continue reading 7 Reasons Young Consultants Fail→
I’ve witnessed many stories of success and failure in consulting. I’ve found that some people flourish in consulting while others either fail or get stuck in a purgatory-like existence. These people neither succeed nor completely fail. They are simply unhappily stuck in the same position indefinitely.
I’ve found that the ones who succeed are the ones that have figured out the consulting career secrets that propel their career success higher than the average consultant. Here are five of the consulting career secrets that I’ve seen those people follow. Continue reading 5 Consulting Career Secrets→
Over the 1980s and 1990s, we watched the phenomenon of the Walmart revolution. New stores opened at an amazing clip while people flocked there for their low prices to buy everything from school clothes to groceries to tires.
They were able to charge those low prices through the use of first class supply chain technology, low non-union wages, cheap foreign imports, and many other factors.
Consultants and clients often have a contentious relationship. Clients resent the high hourly fees the consultants charge. They view consultants as a necessary evil. Consultants tire of the constant demands the client places on them, while pressuring them to lower their fees on an almost constant basis.
Consultants don’t understand that it is up to them to provide such high quality service that the client becomes happily dependent upon them. By following these tips, the consultant can get the client to love them almost unconditionally. Continue reading 5 Ways to Get Your Client to Love You→
One of my best friends died last week. As toddlers, Robb and I played together in the nursery of our church. We were in the same kindergarten class. We were friends through high school, college and throughout our adult lives.
Over the past decade or so, even though our lives got busy with family and career, we would get together every three to four months for dinner. We would have some dinner and a few beers and share our lives with each other for just a couple of hours.
It was usually Robb who initiated those meetings. He’d send me an email or a text and suggest a time and a place. Sometimes, he would bring someone he thought I’d be interested in meeting. He introduced me to a young man that was going to the same college as me. And he once introduced me to someone that wanted to get into consulting.
The Last Dinner
The last time we met for one of those dinners, we talked about our families and careers a little, as usual. We tormented Joe, the waiter a little. We discussed some of our old friends. I talked to him about how I kept up with many of them with social media.
Robb had social media accounts, but he was almost never on them. He told me that he just didn’t get Facebook and Linked in. “What’s the point?” he asked. I tried to explain to him how much fun it was for me to learn what friends – old and new – were up to.
Then three days later, at the age of 51, he died of a heart attack in his sleep.
A Realization in the Eulogy
As I sat in the church, I listened to the minister eulogize my friend. Fortunately, he was also a close friend with Robb and he spoke of their relationship. He explained that Robb would call him every few months to meet for coffee. They would get together and just talk.
It amazed me how similar it was to my experience with Robb. Then, I heard other people speak. They too remarked how they’d meet with Robb occasionally. The minister talked about how Robb was a connector of people. And I realized that my relationship with Robb wasn’t unique at all. He did that with many other people. He regularly maintained his relationships and built new ones by connecting people in his network.
The Lesson Learned
Many of us connect with friends, coworkers and business acquaintances, thinking we’re networking. But most of us are just playing a numbers game. Few of us spend the time to get to know the people in our network. And we probably rarely connect people with others out of the blue, just because they may have something in common.
When we do make contact with those connections, it’s usually when we need something. “Hi Bill, I’m looking for a job. Do you know anyone who is hiring?” Or maybe, “I’m looking to sell to this company and was wondering if you could introduce me to this guy.” I admit that I’ve done that before.
So moving forward, I pledge to take a page out of Robb’s book. I’ll try to develop deeper relationships rather than increase the number. I will focus on quality instead of quantity.
I don’t know if I’ll ever leave a legacy as rich as the one my friend Robb left behind. But when I leave this world, if there are people who remember me as a connector of people, I know that I will honor his legacy.
That’s enough for me.
What have you done to develop your relationships this week?
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.
As we recover from the Great Recession of 2008-2009, unemployment continues to inch downward. Lingering effects remain, however. Many people who were unable to find jobs with traditional employers became consultants. Some were consultants in name only. They had no paying clients, but showed the title to fill the resume gap. Others were successful in finding clients. But were they successful in keeping those clients?
Consulting involves more than just offering your labor and knowledge for a fee. A consultant must focus on the client’s issues and make the client’s success a priority. You may call yourself a consultant. But it is still possible that you suck as a consultant.
Here are six ways that could mean you suck as a consultant.