What My Dad Taught Me About Consulting

Written by lewsauder

June 11, 2012

What My Dad Taught

What My Dad Taught Me About Consulting

My father passed away in 1990.  After that, Fathers Days were a bit sad for me for a couple years, until I began celebrating them as a father instead of a son.

In the late 80s when people began buying PCs, I remember my dad saying he would consider buying one, but he wouldn’t know what to use it for.  As I look back to those pre-internet days, I can’t for the life of me remember what we did use them for.

I’d love to bring him back just for a day and
show him some of the technological advances we’ve made since then.  I’d show him the GPS systems built in to the car’s dashboard so he could continue his record of never asking for directions.  I’d show him smart phones and apps like the one that shows how badly his Chicago Cubs are getting beat on any given day.  I’d show him all that you can do with the internet.  He hated shopping.  So it would be fun to show him that he could purchase everything from groceries to books to power tools from the comfort of his recliner.

And after showing him all of that cool technology, he would probably look me straight in the eye and say “You mean to tell me that the seats in your car are HEATED??”

What My Dad Taught Me

I began to think of that from a consulting perspective.  Regardless of whether your consulting focus is on technology, marketing or a specific market such as
retail, technology is integrated into much of our business advice.

Technology is associated with efficiency.  The logic follows that the more advanced the technology, the more efficient we will be.  Wal-Mart exemplified that with their advanced supply chain systems.

Sometimes though, we get caught up in the technology and don’t stop to think about how it can best be applied for the client’s well-being.  Just as my dad might have been best served with heated seats rather than a GPS system or online shopping, a client may gain more benefit from a lower tech solution instead of a state of the art system.

Why are you using that technology?

We should always take a step back and ask whether we like a technology because it’s just so cool, or because it’s in the best interest of the client.  How will it benefit the client?  Have we considered a lower tech (and lower cost) solution? Have we considered what the client’s problem is that we’re trying to solve?  Do they really want to buy a book online, or do they just want their butt warmed?

When we buy someone a gift, we have a tendency to
buy what we want.  But the best gift is when you put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and find something that they want, regardless of your own tastes. 

See my related post: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Consulting Career

The same approach can be used when we consult for
our clients.  Have you put yourself in their chair, considered the problem from their perspective and come up with their solution rather than yours?

If your father is no longer around, what cool advancements do you think he’d be most impressed with today?  If your father is still around, please make
sure to give him a big hug for those of us who can’t.

What did your dad teach you about your work?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.

© 2011-2014 Lew Sauder All Rights Reserved

Lew’s Books at Amazon:

Project Management 101
Consulting 101
The Reluctant Mentor

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