The art of… Consulting
In the following set of blogs I will look at some of my own ideas about aspects of work within your domain. Today, I will present some of my views on managing the consulting piece. In no way I try to be complete, but just provide you some of pragmatic tips on this topic instead.
I think you will recognize some of them as I am convinced I presented some of them in earlier articles.
Foremost the most important, but at the same time most difficult characteristic in consulting is listening. In particular because as a consultant wants to 'communicate' and demonstrate his/her value. The real thing about consulting is to come to an advise that fits to the need. And if you start to communicate without understanding the real need, you will restrict yourself to common practice without any depth. To me a good consultant listens and also reflects until mutual understanding is reached about issues, needs and the real question. Then it is time to start to communicate...
I like to address the topic of the so-called 'square wheel' question. It is my reference to questions that are posed based on implicit knowledge or thoughts that you could not know or can not oversee. It is important to understand that the one who poses the question does know! The risk of course is that your answer, without you realizing, holds no ground or leads to a next phase in the conversation that you do not like! So once you detect the possibility of a square wheel question, ensure yourself that you speak on equal grounds and ask questions and reflect your understanding until that moment.
Better well stolen... but always and only if you add your own value (and of course respecting copyrights)! I believe it is a good habit to follow others in your domain and continue to be curious, interested and eager to learn. Many will produce similar deliverables. It will tease your creativity to study others. And why invent something that is already invented? A waste of time for sure! Better to spend time on improving or extending what others have created before you. Then your contribution really counts!
Reuse is the default. For everything your team produces, reuse must be the first thought in the creation process. As with the previous point, why spend time on creating things that are already created? The benefits are evident, such as increased efficiency, increased quality over time (everything you create for the first time should be seen as 'version 0.1'). Ultimately working with your team towards deliverables of higher quality!
Finally, visualize. I believe I need not further explain that whatever you visualize (in the right way!) is received with better understanding. Visualize in stead of writing big reports. I strongly believe you are better off to put your efforts in creating the sole image that supports your message. Of course, the ultimate outcome is when your client is reusing your image as well...
It is too simple to state this is all there is to the art of consulting. However, in the many years I have been working in and with consulting practices, these are really the differentiating factors. And if you do not agree, I am sure you embrace, improve and extend these thoughts... 😊