Planning on Treading a Career in Management Consulting?
Here are the Essential Skills You Must Have
To work as a consultant is no simple business. Not only does holding this position requires the right educational background and credentials to claim, retaining the job is very challenging, too.
It may sound dissuading for those who are aspiring to take the steps of a consultant, but the reality is that not many people really last in it. As the go-to person of many companies who are in the brink of trouble, to be a consultant is an act of heroism that is not very easy to fulfill.
Sure, you have one and only one role as a consultant towards those people whom you consider clients—usually, business people who are desperate to keep their businesses afloat—that is, to confide them possible solutions to their problem. But not all business issues are easily resolved or dealt with.
Oftentimes, the “clients” you are faced with may be egotistical people who are themselves hard to handle which adds to the weight of the work.
But, ultimately, the job itself is just hard to maintain because the nature of the work is mentally taxing. As a consultant, you not only process ideas based on the client’s inputs, you also get to squeeze your brain trying to formulate a solution and coming up with the steps towards its activities.
In a line of work where money is the basis whether or not your developed solution works, your credibility is also always at stake whatever the outcome is.
But this is not to say that there is not something good about being a consultant. As a career position that is close to the top of the ladder, having to walk the shoe of a consultant is an achievement. Many start out from the bottom of the ladder before climbing up several steps just to hold the title and, possibly, reap its accompanying benefits.
What It Really Takes to Become a Management Consultant
Possessing the right credential and knowhow about the work may be two crucial elements in attaining the role of a Management Consultant, but these two alone may not be sufficient in the real work setting.
To consider yourself a full-fledged management consultant, you must also possess other critical elements in your repertoire such as the following:
It may come off as a surprise for most people, but many consultants attain their job while missing out on one common skill—listening. At least, the idea was according to Roger Martin, a person of great influence in the consulting business.
If you are a person who is not keen at hearing other people’s problems and trying to develop pertinent solutions with its input, you are missing a lot in your role as a problem-solver to your client. Oftentimes, the solution you would be providing may not even be tailor-made to your client’s actual needs.
Getting the promotion as a management consultant company may imply you having earned your employee’s respect to give you the highly-coveted position. But this does not mean that your clients will give you the same regard, particularly on the first day of the meeting.
Like many things in business—and with people in general—you would have to earn your client’s trust and it typically does not just happen on day one but rather over time.
Knowing the right questions and how to ask it are another critical component of a good management consultant. This might even imply paving way for certain information not yet laid out by pointing towards it.
This kind of capability only implies that you are ahead of the game and is getting a full picture of the problem at hand.
Essentially, in this kind of business, asking is but just a part of the game.
Many may have the presumption that in order to become an effective management consultant, you must have all the answers to every problem. That should not necessarily be the case. Otherwise, that will just be pretentious and something which clients will not be too happy about.
5.Understanding of the target market
Every great consultant knows that when their client speaks about business, they do not necessarily just jump to the idea of revenues and overlooking their own customers. Businesses and customers are simply too mutually-inclusive to talk about one and left out another, lest it gets erratic and the solution be made inappropriate or ineffective.
As such, a consultant must also understand the client’s target market and use that idea as a pertinent element in the solution to be developed.
No strategy ever came to be without an underlying concept which supports its being. But in order to know so, you have to be presumptive enough to know what those ideas are and be able to create a link to the strategies derived.
7.Knows facts from opinions
Like any problem-solver, data gathering is part of a consultant’s nature of work. But not every bit of information you come across should be treated as factual, some may just be as a result of another person’s opinion.
One thing that separates fact from opinion is that the former is based on objective analysis of a particular matter while the latter is just a subjective derivative. Opinions could be either right or wrong but facts are facts.
When trying to come up a solid solution to your client as a consultant, it pays to deal only with facts while knowingly filtering out the opinions that merely clutter in the process.
One of the consultant’s greatest asset must be drawn from his ability to act out of level-headed volition. If you are not confident enough to make decisions on your own while dealing with a client, you will be taken for as a wimp who is not even fit for the job.
9.Great analytical skill
Forming up a solution based on a particular problem is not always something a consultant should refer to a book. Mostly the case, the formulated solution must also be produced based on the consultant’s sound judgment pertaining to the nature of the problem at hand.