Qualities of a Great Consultant
The goal of an
azad consultant is to gain understanding of how a client's operations work and offer solutions and specialized assistance to further improve upon what the company has established and help optimize their organization. At times, consultants are tasked with digging into tough obstacles, which is not always easy, however, it is the strong problem solving skills that makes the successful consultant uniquely equipped to take on those challenges.
As a consultant, you have the ability to look at an organization from the outside, without being affected by things such as internal politics or resistance to change, and give impartial advice on its processes and procedures. By doing so, you are able to add value to a piece of work, improve results, and focus on things that are most important to the client.
While there is no script to follow to ensure successful outcomes 100% of time, according to Forbes, the following are qualities that can be developed to help individuals go from being good consultants, to great ones.
Knowing How to Think Before You Do:
What really distinguishes a good consultant from a great one is the ability to not only focus on the tasks at hand, but also to think critically about the work. For example, the client may be asking you to find cost savings in a supply chain, but first, try to understand why this is critical to the business. Are profits declining? Is the competition lowering product prices, forcing the client to compete? Knowing how to think this way will help you develop better insights and solutions for the client.
In consulting, you will be asked to solve problems that may be completely new to you-or even completely new to the industry. When you're faced with these tough problems or challenging requirements, it is your resourcefulness that will help you succeed. Develop the ability to quickly and creatively solve problems. Do not give up too quickly, be creative in your research efforts, and show your team that you're willing to do whatever it takes.
Being a "Safe Pair Of Hands":
This essentially means that you will do exactly what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it. Sounds simple, but it's the number one quality needed to build trust and credibility among your team and the client. The more trust you build early on, the more opportunities you will be given in the future.
Flexibility: Great consultants adapt to new projects, work cultures, and colleagues easily. They come in, they fit in, and they get the job done. Their soft skills and technical expertise allow them to take on their roles quickly and easily.
Not Being Afraid to Ask (Good) Questions:
Questions help ensure you understand what you are being asked to do and the issues the client is facing, as well as demonstrate your understanding. Never be afraid to ask for clarification-it's better than doing something wrong. Even if you don't have a question to ask, restating what you've been told to clarify your understanding can inspire confidence with the client.
Being the "Go-To":
While being a jack-of-all-trades is definitely needed, the consultants who perform best always have an area that they truly excel in. Whether that's great communications skills or a particularly deep knowledge in an industry, technology, or product, take the time to find out what you can become the go-to person for.
To gain trust and build an effective working relationship with a client, the client must have a certain level of confidence in what you're doing. Exude a level of self-assurance that's punctuated with authenticity. You'll earn more trust if you're honest about your limits and don't end up over promising and under delivering.
Listen for the Unexpected:
One deployed on a client's project, your first duty is to actively listen, so your understanding of the project, the players, and the environment is shared. The ordinary parts of the system may hide surprises, but you can't dig into every detail right away. Instead, keep the conversation going to cover as much of the high ground as possible. While you are doing this, make special note of any unexpected or unusual issues that arise.
If a client approaches you with an idea, do not shoot down their idea right out of the gate. The point is not to tell the client why their idea will not work; the point is to understand where they are trying to go with their idea, and to find a better way to help get them there.