Consulting Excellence Begins With "You"
At Centric Consulting we take pride in our commitment to providing unmatched experiences and excellence in all we do. As a consulting firm, people like me are responsible for delivering quality service to our clients, and ensuring the Centric brand is not only represented well, but also an attractive option for potential clients in need of a reputable business partner.
As a consultant, it is my job to demonstrate the professionalism my clients simply can't live without. Yes, it's my job to become irresistible to my clients, because I am the person they depend on to help them meet their goals and achieve the success that will take their businesses to the next level.
So, how does a professional consultant live up to this high standard of service delivery? What does it take to be a value-add resource and partner a business repeatedly calls on for guidance and support? Quite simply, it takes you - all of you!
Now that you know how important you are to your client's success, there are a few things you need to do to ensure "you" are the one clients think of when critical asks are on the table. Let's explore 3 things that will help you demonstrate excellence at levels that will keep your clients coming back for more.
Understanding who you are is key to consulting with excellence. This is true because many of us are multi-talented, and most of the time we find ourselves using all our talents in some form or another. What I have discovered personally is that while I am gifted in many ways, I am stronger in some areas than I am in others. We need to be mindful of our own capabilities and limitations so we don't under-estimate the value we have the potential to add or, set expectations that are not realistically achievable. Either way, if we don't have a clear understanding of our own strengths and areas where we can improve, we will likely negatively affect the level of excellence we provide our clients.
Take some time to inventory your skills and abilities, then assess and rank them based on your proficiency in each of them. The areas with the highest rankings are where you will most likely deliver high levels of excellence to your clients. In his book "Strength Finders 2.0", Tom Rath helps readers identify their strengths and also offers suggestions about how to utilize and development them. There are other books and tools that will help you assess your capabilities, and offer advice as to how you can improve yourself. The key here is to know who you are so your clients know what they are getting when they look to you for help.
Once you have a good grasp on who you are as a consultant, and what you bring to the table for your clients, your work has only just begun. Consider this thought on complacency:
"The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much, but doing too little. Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity. It's not failure but aiming too low, that is life's greatest tragedy." ~ Benjamin E. Mays
We must always work to improve who we are, to grow ourselves so that we are always in the process of becoming more than we were before. Your clients are constantly setting new goals, reaching for higher margins, and seeking to continuously improve processes. As a result, it is incumbent upon the "excellent" consultant to at a minimum keep stride with the needs of the clients we serve, and better yet, stay ahead of their expectations of the value they think we add. To do this, we must continually look for opportunities to grow ourselves, to always take advantage of options to improve the level of excellence we have the legitimate capability to provide.
It is not enough to simply "know yourself"; you must have the drive and initiative to invest in efforts to "grow yourself" as well. Read books, get certified in your fields, participate in professional meetups and user groups. Keep yourself involved in the process of becoming a better you than you have ever been before.
Everyone enjoys the idea of "strutting their stuff" - it's human nature to display some degree of pride and to once-in-a-while give the old ego a good stroke or two. If you have invested time and money into becoming a consultant of excellence, you have also earned the right to put who you are on display. In fact, we owe it to our clients to demonstrate the best of who we are, so they can benefit from the value we have added to ourselves. They in essence share in the value-added to ourselves by becoming a recipient of that value - a recipient of all we have become.
Don't be afraid to let yourself go! Be who you have invested so much into becoming. Exercise the skills and abilities you have spent so much personal time to hone. Demonstrate the improvements you have made to yourself in order to increase the value-add to your clients. Lastly, be proud of the ever-increasing, always-growing, and continuously-improving "You"!