Choosing your role – Just Another Eagle


A wise and perhaps a tad acerbic colleague of mine once commented on my then pending decision to change consulting companies with the following advice.

“If you stay you will always be an eagle among turkeys, but if you go you will be just another eagle.“

It was a little harsh to many of my colleagues of that time as they were in fact a highly professional and enjoyable team to work with. It was however said to make a point. The point was that if you are seeking recognition and reward, then a role that allows you to stand out from the crowd is critical.

There are many “eagle-class” performers in jobs across the world that do not receive recognition for their performance. Why? The role they have taken on simply does not permit it.

Let’s assume you are a Managing Consultant. You manage a small team of 20 resources and you also bill your time to the client in both a Subject Matter Expert and Project Lead role.

If you:

  • deliver the project on-time and on-budget
  • achieve your personal utilization and the expected project margin
  • receive good Customer Satisfaction results
  • receive good feedback from your team on your management of them
  • help them with their career and to achieve their annual performance metrics

then you have done your job. So have the other 100 Managing Consultants in the same role, who achieved the same result. They did the job that was expected of them and they did it well. They are just other eagles. They will receive the minimum amount of reward and recognition necessary to keep the role filled with competent resources within an acceptable level of attrition. That’s simply a reality of the consulting business. It’s a business with maximum returns expected to the shareholder or partnership.

So your evaluation of the role is critical to your decision to accept a new position, if recognition is an important factor to you.

When evaluating a prospective role in a consulting organization ask the following two questions:

  • can I “blow the doors off” what is expected of me? {drag car  racing lingo for a dramatic win}
  • what would happen if I do?

Don’t ask your prospective employer what defines success, ask them what gets you on-stage at the annual conference, the trip to Fiji and the $100,000 bonus and then make sure it is at least possible to achieve in the role proffered. If not, don’t take it. You will be just another eagle or worse yet just another turkey.

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