Friday, August 10, 2012

Some Folks Who Should Think Twice About Consulting

In the business of consulting, I have observed that to be successful, there needs to really be a sense of commitment to others....the company, the client, the team....the "others" who have really nothing to do with your personal life.  That being said, it also takes a certain type of person and life experience to be able to balance the demands of being good at consulting and being a good father, husband, friend, etc.

Consulting is an attractive profession for reasons too numerous to define here, but, I submit that you will become frustrated and eventually fail at this gig unless you can truly look in the mirror and make these statements honestly to yourself:

1.  I have a mature relationship with my wife and family and they support me 100%
2.  I am strong enough to put the team and the client ahead of myself when I am on assignment
3.  I can handle the stresses and frustration of full-time travel without taking it out on others
4.  I am okay with not being allowed to engage in the self-serving whining of "having a bad day."
5.  I can honestly approach mistakes as an opportunity to improve myself and my team without judgement on a personal level
6.  I can honestly listen to the feed back of my team and make an honest effort to improve, without judging them
7.  I have weighed the benefits and the costs and the benefits outweigh the costs

I see, time and again, people who are not cut out for this business, struggling to try and make it work.  They are bright, energetic and capable of many things.  Often, though, they refuse to answer these questions truthfully.  They take constructive criticism as a personal attack because they are incapable of this level of self-awareness and do not value anyone else's position on their performance.  This is often a problem with the "type-A" personalities drawn to the consulting gig.  Particularly disturbing to me are the personalities that put themselves ahead of their team and young, inexperienced consultants who think they can do this with a young marriage or young children (12 or younger), at home.  I am not saying it is impossible, but I would venture to guess...and it's just my observation, that more of these folks have wound up failing in this business than succeeding.  I applaud those who, when faced with the challenges of personal situations that can only be harmed by this gig, make the right decisions for their families.  The consulting world I have seen is littered with wrecked relationships of all kinds as a result of a lack of balance and true self-awareness.

I should know....I could not answer all of these questions truthfully when I began, but have learned to listen better and and think more about my team than myself.  I also have had the love and support of a wonderful family and we are living life to the balance.

1 comment:

David Hengen said...

Great post, Joe. I haven't checked your site for awhile and am delighted to see all the posts. Keep them coming. I hope that your non-consulting endeavors are also going well.