Peerpoint consultant Mark Slater, gives his thoughts on how the consulting mind-set and qualities such as resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness and pragmatism, can be valuable strengths at difficult times.
The way we work and socialise has been shaken in a way none of us has experienced before. People are having to adapt. They are having to deal with difficult and frequently novel problems. This is a time when thinking like a consultant can be a strength.
What I enjoy about my work as a legal consultant is the change and the new challenges that are often thrown at me. A consultant should always be reassured by their legal skills and know that they are valuable to the people who engage them. They should be resourceful and understand how they want to project themselves to those people.
Regardless of whether you are a consultant, it is important to consider what you want out of working life. Another truism is that you should always have a plan to achieve what you want. Planning for difficult times in a career will pay dividends. Nearly everyone will reach a professional crossroads and have obstacles put in their way. If you know how to respond emotionally and financially to this, you are more likely to flourish.
Equally, taking advantage of change and looking for opportunity is always at the forefront of my mind. No one can predict reliably how the current pandemic will affect our world, personally or professionally. However, it is almost certain there will be change.
I think about the emerging issues and how my experience might be useful. Are there areas that I find interesting and have some relevant knowledge? If I can do some background reading or research on a topic that interests me, it helps me understand where I can help. My legal skills are valuable to different businesses in different ways.
Be ambitious and not too narrow in your focus. At the same time, be realistic about the opportunities that may be available. If you are pragmatic, learn new skills and if you are prepared to make some sacrifices, those opportunities may broaden out in a direction that enthuses you.
Bringing your unique experience to the fore
Thinking and planning like a consultant in this way is an advantage. It can make you more able to cope and thrive as dramatic events happen around the world, or even just in your industry. The plans that you develop should make you more resilient. The difficulties that businesses have in pressing forward with new projects and building new teams mean that there may be fewer opportunities available for now. Being patient, and confident in the skills you have, should be a normal part of your preparation. Opportunities will arise and you should be working hard to find them.
Even if you are a consultant continuing on with a current contract, what's next? If you already have a good idea about the work that you would like to be doing or the type of organisation that you would like to help, does a crisis change things? Organisations may reconsider their business plans or the timing of when they need help to achieve their goals. Thinking about how this might happen and working out how to market yourself are things that a consultant does all the time. Understanding my strengths as a consultant lawyer means that I can let others know how helpful I can be.
Major events also mean that the issues that arise may have not been thought about much in the past. The ability of a consultant to bring his or her experience of how different businesses do things and being flexible can add real value. In a time of uncertainty, there is always a need for trustworthy and reliable advice. A good consultant will project themselves as this trusted advisor, able to help with challenges and the process of change.
Many people might be worried about the future. The adaptability and resilience of a consultant are assets that right now are only increasing in value.
To learn more about how we work with our consultants to help them develop a consultant mind-set, please get in touch here.