Keys to Successful Consulting

Once in a while I get asked about what are the keys to successful consulting…

It all starts with a question…. How is it going?

Followed by silence and listening.
Most people tell exactly what’s on their mind when given a really good opportunity to do so.

What comes out is important data and all I need to listen for is what is wrong and what needs to be done to correct it. Then I will tell it back to the person. If there is only a problem without a solution I make sure I get it right first and then I use creativity and larger context and experience to see what’s missing and would put things on track.

This is usually obvious. it’s often a process, guideline or simply an action. what people need is clarity in most cases. Some times it is knowhow/knowledge/skills that is missing and this lack is causing the confusion.

In addition to great listening skills and ability to see a bigger picture…

As a consultant it’s key to have influence without authority. Even if you are given authority you still need to have and earn your power to influence others. Sometimes it means to let people realize what they need to do and what needs to happen. This is done in a subtle way. This job is not for someone with an ego. Make sure you get paid by some other criteria other than the amount of credit others give you for your advice. You’ll get the credit, but there is no need to need the recognition. You are there to produce results through other people like a manager, so let others have the credit and enjoy the fact that things are moving.

This is the core of the consulting process, in my opinion.

the core steps are:
1. listen for problems and solutions
2. reflect back and make sure you got it right
3. bring in skills and knowledge missing
4. influence without authority

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