I was at a business breakfast in Reading last week and learnt more in 1 ½ hours than I have done for a long time and it made me realise that there is so much more to discuss about the consultant role.
Two weeks ago I put a post up about the role of a consultant being similar to that of a rugby coach, you are there to guide, facilitate and educate a team, but not necessarily to do the work.
Most of my work is based across the Thames Valley region, Bucks, Berks and Oxon but sometimes further afield both in the UK and abroad, but what is constant wherever I work is the need for good communications. Yesterday at our meeting we were all asked to stand up and give one piece of advice that we would give to our younger selves. This not only focused our attention on what we had to say and how to say it, but it also forced us to communicate clearly and precisely.
Often when I work with teams, they have great skills, talent and ability but do not necessarily get their message over clearly, meaning others around them don’t understand what they are trying to do and importantly do not see the skills that an individual has. So when it came down to my turn to stand up, there were many things I would say to my younger self as there was a lot I have got wrong in the past, but I do believe I have many strengths, just like every person, but my biggest weakness was being impatient, impatient to achieve, impatient to gain promotion, impatient to move on.
Therefore my one piece of advice was to be patient and wait for the right time. However there were many other soundbites of advice that everyone else gave, too many for me to remember, but what everyone did demonstrate was an ability to communicate and talk clearly and concisely, a skill that is being lost in the modern business world. As a consultant, my advice to any team is whatever you are doing or working on, make sure you communicate it clearly, concisely and talk your findings through with your colleagues. My last piece of advice would be, don’t use 1,000 words when you can use 100, it will only serve to confuse.
So this particular chapter of the story ends with my realisation that impatience has led me to rush a lot of things in my life and as a result I have not only made mistakes but I have missed out on many things. So when working with my clients I ensure that whilst we have to work to deadlines, it is worth taking a breath and considering your next move without rushing.