3 Tips to Becoming an Expert Consultant

If you have been in consulting, you know it can be challenging for a number of reasons. A consultant needs to have a good level of business and emotional intelligence to know when and how to ask specific questions, have the ability to take over project and even be prepared to jump into chaos. How you handle and understand these situations can affect the outcome of your consulting assignment. So what makes an excellent consultant? There are many nuances behind being a skilled expert, here are three tips for any industry:

1. Do Your Homework:

Learn as much as you can about who you are meeting with, the company and the team you could likely be partnering with.  Spend quality time on the company website getting to understand and know the organization. Check out their social networking presence, what is most important to them, what are they posting about and how are they portraying their brand? Don’t forget to use your connections and ask questions to those who have had experience with the company. Taking the time to do your homework will ensure you are prepared and fully know what you are walking into. Along with that and perhaps most important, get an understanding of why are you being brought in, is it a specific project or day to day backfill?  Get as many questions answered as possible, upfront so there are no grey lines.

2. Understanding the Keys to Culture:

What makes this organization tick?  Why did the person you are interviewing come there, have they enjoyed their time there? Do you understand the company’s priorities? All of these make up the company values, and whether it’s your ideal culture or not, it’s good to know and respect what kind of environment you are going to be working with. If you are jumping into the CHRO role, where in the cycle are they for strategic planning?  For example within a Talent Acquisition project, do their hiring leaders have a strong input to the process or does the Talent Acquisition handle the full cycle?

3. Taking Their Lead:

Every situation and organization is unique, with varying levels of ambiguity.  Be open to taking their lead and following their processes.  Taking feedback and working in their style can be critical to a successful assignment. To do this effectively you will need to observe, adapt and connect with the company’s practices. However, on the flip side of that, remember to also offer your consultative perspective.  With your background and knowledge of differing practices, share what you, as the expert, have seen.

Applying these tips will have you on your way to becoming an expert consultant in your industry.

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