Yes, a travel bag. I know it may sound a little crazy, but here’s the thing. Part of living the consulting lifestyle means there is some travel, for many that travel may be up to 80%. Some people love business travel and some people want to keep their business travel to a minimum. Regardless of which side of the business travel dichotomy you fall into, there is always a shared struggle about the luggage used. [Read more…]
After being in management consulting for so long, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m wired to identify problems. If you think about principles of performance management and project management that are large parts of what consultants do, it makes sense that you get the most bang for your buck by spending your time addressing things that aren’t going well and need attention/change more so than the things that are going just as you planned.
The downside of this exception-based management is that people who are performing well don’t always get the recognition they rightfully deserve to encourage them to keep it up.
This brings me to Tom Brady, a guy who by most accounts is winning at life. He’s rich, a pro athlete, has a supermodel wife (also rich), and may have just solidified his status as the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League based on the outcome of the Super Bowl (his 5th championship).
And what did I do? I sent you an email about the train wreck that was the Atlanta Falcons. While the lessons to learn from the Falcons’ collective shortcomings were legit, we can also learn what it takes to beat the odds by looking at what the Patriots did during that same game. [Read more…]
In case you don’t like sports or somehow manage to interact with zero people who like sports (or maybe you live in a place where American football isn’t so popular), something pretty interesting happened this past Sunday. The worldwide leader had a “not top 10” moment of its own that I bet they won’t be replaying for the entertainment of its millions of viewers. [Read more…]
Most people will tell you that college is the time in your life when you learn the most, but I have to disagree with those people. While I agree that college is an amazing time for learning (and a heck of a lot of fun, too), both in the educational sense and the social, interpersonal sense, the real learning comes after you walk across that stage.
While you may know how to calculate EPS or how to use Lagrange multipliers in macroeconomics, there’s so much more you need to know to be successful in your career. Being only one year into my management consulting career, I’m well aware that I have many miles to go before I can claim any real knowledge on how to attain career success. That being said, I’ve learned a thing or two in the past 12 months that I’d like to share for those of you who may be on the first few steps of your career paths as well. [Read more…]
You know what the worst thing is that can happen to a consultant trying to get promoted?
You telling them exactly what they need to do to lock in that bump to the next level.
Here’s why. [Read more…]
Part of what makes Excel so great is the way you can create great visualizations of data. It isn’t all about performing complex calculations and tracking action items. [Read more…]
One of the hardest things to produce as a management consultant is an executive summary.
The more effort you put into a presentation, the harder it is to summarize.
I’ve been there and I get it. After all of the iterations, you made it so that every word had to be justified. Every single word is important to telling your story.
This is where people have things all mixed up. [Read more…]
Not every deadline you have to hit is going to be reasonable.
Sometimes deadlines won’t even feel possible.
Part of your job as a consultant is to make the unreasonable possible. This often entails assigning a ton of action items and dates to people who probably would prefer you faded away into oblivion.
Part of having an action item that’s worth anything is making sure you have a mutually agreed due date.
But there’s another piece of the puzzle that’s frequently overlooked – the respect for the deadline. [Read more…]
In the management consulting world, you go to a lot of meetings.
Because of all of those meetings, one of the most important things you can do coming into consulting (or any other career) is make sure you know how to take notes.
Working on consulting engagements, it’s not uncommon to have multiple meetings to prepare for the “real” meeting with the client. If you play your cards right, the meetings, at least, yield useful information.
There’s a huge problem with all of these meetings though – people have short-term memories. By the time the participants leave the meeting and get back to their desks, that discussion will have long faded from their memory.
And even worse, when you ask people about their commitments made in the meeting later, they act like you’re speaking in a language they’ve never heard before. (I suppose accountability could be considered a language, and I know there are some people out there who aren’t familiar with it.)
That is exactly why you’ll find the rich and powerful to be avid note takers.
When taking notes for yourself, you should consider adding structure for searchability using a tool like Evernote. When it comes to meeting notes, you’ll want to email those out and be sure to focus on capturing the six following pieces of information. [Read more…]