Consulting, like every industry, has its shitty moments, things that piss you off and make you hate the job. I have my list of things that I hate in consulting. Below just a few of them. Enjoy the list of an always complaining badass consultant 🙂 :
- Suits. The Suit are a modern tool of torture. It’s not comfortable. It’s expensive. It’s pain in the ass to prepare it. Still, you will look smarter in one of them. They will be your tool to mesmerize the crowd and take their money for a few slides that nobody will ever read. So yes suits are powerful ally, but not a loved one. I have 3 suits that I hardly wear. I switched to more casual style – jeans and a white T-shirt or for extraordinary events a proper shirt. That’s pretty consistent with my image of a badass consultant that does away with formalities. Nevertheless, whenever I want to get something important accepted I put this armor that gets things done for me.
- Death by Power Point. Consultants overdo the presentations. I would be not surprised if some consultants prepare a power point presentation showing how awesome they are for their blind dates from Tinder 😉 . Quite often you put things on slides, knowing that nobody will read them. You do it just because you have already devoted time to analyzing certain phenomena. People feel obliged to share what they have produce to show how smart and hardworking they are. In most cases just forget it and show what really makes the value. Nobody cares whether you get the job done with 100 slides or just with 10. Besides, a lot of things can be solved with 10 minutes talk or a short Excel.
- Airports and hotels. I have been in so many cities that it would be difficult for me to name them all. But in most cases you see the hotel, the head office of the customer and the airport or the railway station. At some point you develop allergy to hotel food and you crave for homemade sandwiches. I know it is difficult to achieve it if you are working around the clock but try to see something more. Go to the city center, have a coffee and a nice local meal, meet a nice girl and fall in love 😉
- Stupid customers. Not all CEOs, COO and directors are smart. Some of them are plain stupid, corrupt narcissists. You will wander how come they became so important and climb the ladder so easily. I guess luck matters much more than you would think. In most cases you will not be able to avoid them so try to live with them, handle them to achieve the goals and most of all make the company, despite their presence, a success. Remember that most of those guys are trying to make up for something. Maybe they didn’t have sufficient LEGO toys and that’s why they have decided to build a factory that they not need. Maybe they think they have the Midas touch and can turn anything into success. No matter what is the reason, deal with them and try to contain them.
- The wise man image. Consultants think they know everything. They went to the best schools, they work for some well renowned firm, they drive an expensive car and spend a fortune on their suits. My advice to you is simple. Don’t take your own crack. In reality you know shit. Yes you have a capacity to learn (hopefully), you have good base to solve problems but if you are so full of yourself you most likely will stop listening and you will miss the real problems. As a badass consultant try to talk less and listen, observe. If you don’t know something just admit it and learn the things you don’t know. A first step to solving any problem is admitting that the problem exists. Besides, if you present yourself as the wise man that knows everything the customer’s team will be constantly attacking you. Why have enemies when you can have friends?
- Constant artificial pressure. Consultants are famous for deadlines and working 24/7 as if the world would end if you don’t deliver on deadlines. In reality you have plenty of time just use it wisely and don’t succumb to artificial pressure. There is this famous interview with Jose Mourihno (football / soccer team coach). The reporter asked him how he feels after losing the game and how he will solve this problem. Mourinho responded “You have a problem if you live in Africa, have 5 kids and nothing to eat. I have just lost the game”. I know that the project and deadlines are important to you but try to keep things in perspective. Don’t treat yourself too seriously.
- Lack of action. Consulting sometimes feels like a sea where no wind blows. You are saddled with endless slides, analyses but nothing is born out of it. You don’t see factories being built or something working a bit better. That’s why I preferred performance improvement and implementation projects where you are not the architect but also the supervisor of the implementation. You can see the change happening in front of your eyes.
- Douchebag consultants. As a consultant you may feel like you are at the top of the food chain. You aren’t. You are as important as any other employee on the customer’s side so treat them with respect and they will help you with your work. Don’t be a douchebag.
- Flexible moral spine. I really appreciate flexibility but you have to have some rules that you live by. Otherwise, it does not make much sense. Besides living by set rules is inspiring. Flexible moral spine will sooner or later turn against you.
That’s in short. Hope you enjoyed the article. Check also:
- Badass consultant manifesto
- Some tips how to survive a consultant project
- My courses that will help you with your work as a consultant