What makes a good consultant? I brainstormed a list of behaviors and skills from personal experience. I wanted to keep the list to seven key points. The goal was to use the constraint to sharpen my own thinking on what behaviors and skills are most important.
- Character and Integrity
- Expertise in a specific domain or area
- Effectively manages attention and energy
- Deliver results (or Make things happen)
- Ability to influence and persuade others
- Subordinate ego
- Face crisis (and negative emotions) with grace and calm
Trust is the bedrock of a strong Client-Consultant relationship. A good consultant demonstrates good character and has high integrity. She or he does what they say and say what they do.
Strong knowledge or expertise with business or technology or a specific skill is a strong plus. Clients typically want specific expertise or knowledge from a Consultant.
A good consultant effectively manages her attention and energy (hat tip to Scott Adams).
The ability to deliver results and make things happen will vault you to the top. Ownership, Resourcefulness, and Adapting to change are the three mindsets I have found are essential to making things happen.
Consulting is a contact sport. You have to work closely with Clients and other stakeholders. The ability to influence and persuade others is a key part of your job. You need to do this well.
Hat tip to Jocko Willink about subordinating your ego. Managing your ego is the name of the game.
I have never seen an smooth project. Things happen, plans change, and you make mistakes (Consultants are human). The ability to handle crisis with calm and grace is a super useful skill and is especially crucial for leaders. The same can be said for handling negative emotions.