In today’s scenario it has been widely observed that organizations strive hard to create and maintain value for their internal as well as external stakeholders. Keeping the same in mind it should be noted that with the changing times, the consulting industry has evolved. Staying true to the renowned quote, “Consultants must find a niche and stick to it; and if you can't find one then create one”. Business consultants are the ones who help in solving myriad issues of the organization, create value, maximize growth and improve the business performance of the organizations. They work to identify options for the organization and suggest recommendations for change, and advising on resources for the implementation of solutions. The world of consulting suits people who thrive off a fast-paced work environment, as days can be exciting and unpredictable.
If you want to be an effective consultant then here are the top 7 skills that would help you in your work:
A consultant should know thoroughly what his/her client’s requirement is by asking them relevant questions. Spend time with them in their working environment and talk to the members of their team. At times the consultant might be required to integrate with the team and hence he/she should be flexible in their approach and communicate with them well. Consultants need to maintain a good rapport with their clients to make progression and to make relevant decisions.
Excellent communication skills
From conducting interviews to managing the team and various stakeholders, writing business proposals and giving presentations, effective communication is an important skill set that is required in consulting work. A good consultant needs to develop trusting relationships with employees quickly and easily; they should be good listeners and should have excellent spoken skills. A lot of projects break down or are stopped due to the lack of communication. Being a strong communicator will not only set you apart from the rest but will quickly help you gain reputation.
Being a team player
Displaying leadership skills is a desirable quality for a good consultant. But working well in a team is an even more important skill. Consultants are hired for a team. He/she should be a team player and should have the ability to get along with everyone. If a person cannot work well in a team, then during large projects things quickly become a hotbed of political chaos. A good consultant knows how to support his/her colleagues, delegates work fairly and knows how to work well with others.
A problem solver
A consultant needs to carry out a vast amount of research and data collection to understand a firm properly. For this, you need an analytical mind that is focused on finding solutions and paying attention to details. Good consultants are able to break down complex problems into simple and solvable chunks. For working in such a domain, the person needs to be highly organized, reliable and well-structured in his/her work so that one can work effectively. The consultant also needs to identify if there are any skill gaps and provide the required training to the team.
Be a decision-maker
Showing conviction and commitment towards one’s own ideas, and the ability to follow through is a highly important skill required in the consulting business. A consultant gains confidence with experience, it is very important that the person is a good listener. A good consultant is able to read between the lines and articulate the client’s needs well. Helping one’s peers in realizing their ideas and offering them support is one of the key aspects of being a good consultant. It will help in getting great results for the project. A good consultant scouts for new business opportunities and asks for suggestions on the design of core strategy, large-scale execution, system improvement, change management, and introduction of new technologies from his/her peers.
Be a creative thinker
Consultants are often challenged to solve unique problems that may be completely new. If there is no prior experience or data to back the decision, a consultant is required to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for the problem. One should not be afraid to ask for help or support from their colleagues to think of different ways to tackle the problem at hand. A fresh perspective can always give insights that one has not thought of before. A good consultant gives solutions that are both creative and practical.
Learn to be stress-resilient
Being a consultant involves a lot of high-level responsibility and pressure. There will be a high level of stress as you have to meet tough targets and tight deadlines or occasionally one might have challenging clients or projects. A good consultant knows how to keep a cool head and communicate effectively with the client. One should learn to look after his/her health both inside and outside of the office; this will help create the emotional strength to deal with all kinds of situations.
Ultimately, becoming a consultant is an exciting new opportunity and a good way to grow. A good consultant is his/her own brand.