5 traits all remarkable consultants share
By Eliot Reeves - Associate Director at Performance Based Consulting
After 10 years of working in the construction industry I have been involved in some outstanding projects. From tunnels to healthcare precincts, and commercial towers to retail shopping centres, it never ceases to amaze me what a group of people can achieve when they set about the goal of bringing a project to life.
Now, a project is the sum of its collective parts that really make it happen: the people. I have worked with some truly remarkable individuals that included architects, engineers, project managers, contractors and a vast array of clients with big ideas. Despite their varied backgrounds, skills and leadership styles, the best of them have all been, at their core, great consultants. Here are the traits they have all shared.
Mahatma Ghandi said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” It’s easy to forget, but consultants are first and foremost in the game of service. Average consultants presume they know what's best for their client – without even asking. The most remarkable consultants I know have a deep and genuine desire to really serve their clients and help them through a tough project. They want to be there when it really matters.
These consultants treat each and every client as if they are the only one that exists, and they imprint that client-centric focus onto their team. Similarly, they live to serve their team mates and understand that they are nothing without the support of them. In return they serve through mentoring, coaching and teaching - and most genuinely enjoy this part of their job.
Good isn't good enough
Nowadays, anyone can be good at pretty much anything. Modern technology and connectivity can take care of the hard work and you can simply deliver a passable product time and time again if you want to.
But the truly remarkable consultants understand that the only way to be is outstanding! They are constantly questioning the way things are done and working to make themselves more efficient and knowledgeable. They’re also always striving for every part of the project to be it’s best, so they invest the time in fostering quality connections so that their clients can have access to the best Architect, or Structural Engineer, or Acoustic consultant, or whatever their client needs.
Remarkable consultants aren't necessarily leaders, but they show leadership when its needed. They are prepared to stand up for what is right, make ethical choices, respect difference of opinion, be inclusive, admit mistakes and work to resolve them, but most of all show respect. The most remarkable consultants see beneath the surface and know that to get the best out of any situation they must show leadership.
They also accept and think from a place of responsibility. The best consultants never blame others to escape accountability. As a leader, they approach each situation as if they’re responsible for the outcome, no matter what. That’s why they are constantly learning and coming up with ways of improving.
Little things matter
The little things make all the difference. Remembering names of family members, sport teams and favourite restaurants. Being on time, appropriately dressed, being well prepared and always being available for clients is what sets a great consultant apart. They take a long-term, relationship-building approach to every interaction, which means they’re prepared to spend time really getting to know you.
Authenticity is key
Authenticity is when actions and words are congruent with thoughts and beliefs. Remarkable consultants say what they mean and then deliver on it, they are honest about their ability and aren't afraid to admit when they are out of their depth or if there is a better person for the job. They also bring this authentic perspective to their personal growth and development. They continually question their own beliefs and learn about themselves, so they can improve.
Finally, they genuinely love their jobs and exude the confidence and positivity that comes along with that feeling. Great consultants are a joy to work with because they’re having fun. Whether that’s with the projects they pick, the people they work with, or the teams they work within, a remarkable consultant makes work enjoyable and not so work-like at all. If that’s not a reason to strive to be an outstanding consultant, I don’t know what is!
Doing all the above is tough. I might not be all of these things yet, but I’m on the journey to get there.
Are you trying to improve your consulting skills? Who do you know that is a great consultant? And what qualities do they possess that stand out from others you work with? I’d love to know your thoughts, so join the conversation here.