By: Graham Severson, Business Development Coordinator
Salo employees gathered this week our Connect & Educate event to hear tips on how to be more successful as a consultant.
A panel of tenured Salo consultants, including Jackie Lantry, Nicole Carter, Robert Morrison and Angela Ciagne, shared stories on the consulting challenges they’ve faced and how they achieve success. Here are a few questions that our panel addressed.
How is consulting work different?
The ability to detach oneself from the day-to-day happenings of the client organization and focus on “the bigger picture” is a major difference in consulting work. Clients rely on a consultant’s outside perspective, and consultants often play the role of observer for the client. Nicole Carter emphasized the importance of this responsibility. “It is your role as a consultant to be an observer for the client, to help create efficiency for the organization.”
What role do I play on a project?
Simply put, Salo consultants are brought in to solve our client’s most complicated business problems. “You’re there to help them. They need your expertise,” said Robert Morrison. “Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. [Clients] treasure your expertise.” The panel also pointed out the importance of setting expectations with the client early on in the project. Some projects can continue to increase in scope if you’re not clear from the beginning what outcomes you are expected to achieve.
How can I “fit in” with the client teams?
While most clients welcome our consultants’ help and expertise, some client team members can feel uneasy about having a new person on the team. The panel offered up various ways to fit in within the client’s culture and team, such as team lunches, meet and greets or even bringing in an office candy jar. Jackie Lantry always tries to begin projects by setting up meet and greets with all stakeholders of the project. In order to make these initial meetings more valuable, she researches client team members beforehand to be better prepared. Angela Ciagne offered the group a simple phrase she abides by with every new Salo project: “Read and follow their lead.”
What do I need to know about rolling off engagements?
The panel described the importance of scheduling a transition meeting with the client near the end of each engagement, along with creating a task list of next steps for the client to complete after the project. Creating a action plan for the client provides additional value after you leave and is a great way to build meaningful relationships with clients.
How can the Salo network help me be more successful?
Connecting with others is what Salo does best. Our panel members emphasized the value of utilizing the Salo network. If they need help solving a client problem, they know they can connect with other Salo consultants to share expertise. This saves time and energy for consultants and clients alike, creating a great overall experience.
Connect & Educate is our employee event series designed to expand careers, leverage employees’ expertise, and grow connections with the Salo community.
Graham Severson is a Business Development Coordinator in our Minneapolis office.
Connect with Graham here.