High value consultants when completing an engagement leave the client with the capability to continue to operate successfully after they leave. In order to facilitate this capability within your client, you may need to take many positions or roles during the engagement. These include:
- Doer – The person who executes the work
- Delegator – The person who engages others to do the work.
- Coordinator – The person who plans people, resources and time to complete to work and to also plan what happens after the consultants leave
- Champion – The person who takes the lead in the engagement, setting the vision, goals and motivates those around him or her to engage in the completion of the work.
- Catalyst – The person who causes the optimum use of people or resources to move the project at a higher velocity.
- Coach – The person who works with team members to provide guidance and helpful feedback on performance.
- Facilitator – The person who finds and provides the required resources for the project to be successful and acts as a convergence point for team communication, processes and decision making to ensure they are done effectively.
- Partner – The person who works side by side with client resources, an integral part of every key team activity and decision.
- Teacher – The person who instructs team members in technology or process to enable their participation in project tasks and deliverables.
- Mentor – The person who works with individual team members to provide personal coaching, personal training and learn-by-example opportunities.
What’s your favorite position?
Most of us naturally gravitate to certain positions or roles in a project. We may like being the Mentor but not like being the delegator. We may like being the doer but our patience may run thin being the teacher. To be the highest value consultant, we must be able to perform effectively in all of the positions on a project by project basis. When the project requires a coach, you need to know how to be an excellent coach. When the project requires a catalyst you need to know how to be a catalyst. While you may have a favorite position, your ability to perform well in multiple positions will ultimately determine just how satisfied your client is. Commodity consultants are primarily “DOERS”. It is the only role they take on the project and thus their overall value is diminished.
Let’s look at a few tips for 2 of the more difficult of these positions.
When to do it
- Is there someone else who has (or can be given) the necessary information or expertise to complete the task?
- Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person’s skills?
- Is this a task that will recur after you leave the engagement and they need to learn it?
- Is your best value for your client on another task?
- If it is done poorly can you recover from it?
How to do it
- Be specific about the desired outcome.
- Clearly identify boundaries. (Please install this software package, but do not put it in global production)
- Provide adequate support, and be available to answer questions.
- Agree on a schedule of checkpoints at which you’ll review progress.
- Take time to review all work and of course be constructive in any feedback. (learn how to do this well)
When to do it
- When there is no client champion and
- you have discussed the role with your client and
- the client wants you to do it.
How to do it
- Ensure the vision, goals and objectives are crystal clear to you.
- Validate them with your client and ensure they 100% in sync with them
- Communicate them broadly, deeply and often to the project team
- Inspire and motivate the team to achieve those objectives (you might want to read my book for this one)
Think back to engagements you have done and look at the list of positions/roles. Were there positions you could have done on that project to have added more value? The answer is usually yes.
So on your next engagement look for opportunities to try some new positions and add more value. Don’t get stuck on just your favorite.