Automation Vs Chameleon
You have an important journey to make, whether it is one you have made before or it’s your first time, there will be lots of considerations. For instance, is this a one-off or a regular journey? Is this journey local or will it involve travelling across boundaries, perhaps international? Will you need resources such as a map, a plan, and a mode of transport (sometimes several)?
Will it be just you travelling or will there be a number of you? How long will the journey be, do you need to allow for some contingency, necessary paperwork, authorisations and currency? These are just some of the important considerations when embarking upon a trip.
“I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want… “
As a consultant, our role is to help you on your journey, whether just a part of it, or all of it.
Today’s consultant cannot be an automaton. Today’s consultant needs to be a chameleon; assimilate and operate within different cultures, empathise, listen well, whilst bringing perspective, insight, humility, relevant experience, focused on results and comfortable with going against the status quo if that yields an acceptable and desired outcome.
An organisation needs to determine the type of resources best suited to its journey. There are a range of resourcing options spanning across consulting, contracting, interim and permanent recruitment, each with their pros and cons. Deciding factors would include whether the company requires capability or capacity or both for a single journey, for each journey or permanently. Consideration should also be given to the nature of the assistance; interim management, deep expertise, advisory, project management, etc.
When I visit a client, I take time to observe, to think, to listen and to understand what role I am to play and if it is consistent with what has been asked for. What is the culture, what is the interplay between the sponsors, project team, recipients, head office and the local office? Do they need an advisor or someone to roll up their sleeves and wrestle the beast or run a standard project? Is a firm hand with military precision required or a highly empathetic approach? In fact, more often than not being a consultant requires one to move seamlessly between interim management, project management, subject matter expert to advisor… The corporate pendulum swings with increasing frequency between needs that are broad and all-encompassing to being specific, from global to domestic, from cost reduction, efficiency increases to growth enhancing.
Adapting to a complex and continually changing environment is one of the ‘arts of consulting’ and my clients prefer chameleons to automatons every time.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”Winston Churchill