What Makes an Effective Management Consultant?

The consulting industry is known for its high-performance workers who are considered to be the best in the business.  But what does it take to succeed in such a competitive field?  While some may think having an Ivy League diploma is enough, they are unaware of what is truly important in the consulting field. There are certain qualities and techniques to practice that are undeniably crucial for any management consultant to thrive:   

  • Listen to the Client 

Listening, in general, is a great skill. In consulting, listening to the client and key managers will help identify 85% of the problems. Many clients know where the issues are with their organization.  They just don’t have the time, skills, or experience/resources to tackle them.  

  • Don’t Worry about Recognition 

Whether it’s your idea or not, if it makes sense and it’s beneficial to the company, put it in play. Remember: the score card is based on earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITA), not who came up with the idea. 

  • Bridge the Gap 

Identify the disconnect between layers of management. If C-level, Mid-Level and Floor supervisors do not directly relay their messages and depend on others to do so, only 20% of the communication makes it through.  By identifying and bridging the gap, there leaves less room for errors and rework. 

  • Get Involved 

Observe the overall process from the highest level of authority, but when it comes to implementation, start from the base and work your way up. Remember: it’s the boots on the ground that are fighting the battle, so get down and dirty beside these soldiers; put your steel-toed boots and your hard hat on and gain firsthand experience.  Understanding multiple levels of staff proves you have conducted important research.  This will entice executives to be more supportive of your proposed solutions. 

  • Be Realistic and Transparent 

Consultants are not there to build a business from nothing.  They are trying to promote better business practices and formulate a plan of action that will bring success and growth to a company.  Do not claim expertise in areas you do not have expertise or experience in. Doing so will lead to guaranteed frustration and failure.  It is much more difficult to re-establish credibility once you have lost a client’s trust. 

  • Keep It Professional 

The client is paying for your skills, knowledge, and experience. Stay objective and fact-oriented, not overly complementary or offensive. Do not lose sight of the mission or the project laid out before you.  Emotions, personal beliefs, and most importantly, egos must be kept at bay.  Be professional but approachable; direct but not arrogant.  Express your views but hear their concerns. 

  • Enjoy What You Do 

Any working individual should wake up every morning enthused to begin another productive day. Being a “road warrior” is not an easy life, especially if you have a family at home. It is important to enjoy the thrill of the unknown; solving business challenges, blending 100’s of personalities into one mission statement, and figuring out years of problems within weeks, all while solving them in months.  Enjoying the job is the most important attribute of any consultant. 

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