At what cost do you build your resume?
The Value of Service: Do you serve your clients or do you seek to increase your own resume with “big name” companies?
In the summer of 2015, I was “serving” a non-profit. The non-profit was a bigger one in the Kansas City area. So, resume wise, you can still argue it looked good. However, it didn’t take long to realize, the services needed were for any entry level consultant. I had already been a consultant for over 2 decades. The Ford Motor company project I mentioned in the first blog was already 13 years old.
As I worked with this client in the leadership area, I was told that “Sarah” downstairs could use my help. So, taking all my experience, I walked downstairs to a “back” office. I say back office because, really, it was a closet that was converted to a make-shift office that hosted 3 people…in a closet. The good and bad of working in a non-profit is growing quickly, needing more help but not having anywhere to put them. So, there I was, helping “Sarah” in the basement, in a converted closet with over 20 years of consulting experience.
Serving even if the work is “below you”
“Sarah” showed me an excel spreadsheet she had to work on each week. It merged multiple reports and she manually adjusted all the data into a “finished” report for her boss. It took her 6 hours each week to make these changes to the raw data.
If you know anything about developing in the Microsoft world, VBA script and macros inside of Microsoft Office are very powerful. But, as a developer, they are not very glamorous. So what did I do with my 20 years of experience in helping entire companies shift their direction and automate key systems? I sat down with “Sarah”, listened to her needs, took notes, and asked key questions about her process. Then, after everything was said, I took the time to restate everything she told me so that I knew I understood her core needs.
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It took me 1 hour to make the macro and another 3 hours to test it, tweak it and confer with “Sarah” that it was doing everything she needed it to do. In the end, when “Sarah” received the raw data each week, she pressed 1 button and all 6 hours of work completed instantly. When she pressed the button for the first time, you could see the relief in her eyes. She was now free each week to spend 6 more hours doing what she loved at the non-profit instead of moving data around on a spreadsheet.
The Value of Service in your Consulting Strategy
Hi, I’m Mike and this blog is about becoming the ideal consultant. In a nutshell, the ideal consultant strives to understand their client, their client’s problem, and their client’s industry, in order to help their client make the biggest impact.
The term “ideal consultant” pays homage to Patrick Lencioni and his book entitled “The Ideal Team Player” – if you haven’t already, pick it up. It is a great book centered around the core values of good employees. Mr. Lencioni also details how to interview and hire those ideal employees.
My goal with this blog is to present you with the core values and even the strategy you need as a consultant. I want to help you make the biggest impact for the clients you serve.
The story above is not a game changing job for my resume as a consultant. It won’t attract new clients by saying “I wrote a macro”. But for “Sarah” and the non-profit, it was a game changer. One part time worker, given 6 more hours a week, almost 20% of her time, is game-changing! As you consult, are you there to make a impact for the client or for your resume. If you are only there to make a difference in your own resume, you may miss out on life-changing work. So as you consult, no matter how big or small, make sure to give all of your focus and experience. Building your resume is not the goal, serving your clients is.
Next week, we start at the beginning and define the framework for any strategy. We will then look at my strategy for consulting and how you can use it or modify it to make your own.