The world is awash with business consultants. Industry numbers, especially for self-employed consultants, continue to grow and show no signs of slowing. Add to this, traditional consulting models are under renewed and intense pressure to achieve promised value like never before. What new opportunities do self-employed consultants offer organisations struggling to keep pace with ever-increasing business change accelerants?
Many in management positions tend to think of consultants as a pool of indispensable specialists who are recognised at being the best talent in the industry for a particular business need. This notion is reinforced today by what we read. Search the Internet and you’ll discover there’s a cacophony of public material describing ‘generalists versus specialists’ that subscribe to this division of labour expertise.
For the self-employed consultant, there’s no denying he or she has had to accumulate many years of experience. Otherwise, it would be a challenge to run a viable business without having earned that credibility. Additionally, all consultants were at least one time in their career, specialists.
The secret sauce of success for self-employed consultants still remains the same. The goal is to become an in-demand expert where you can command your own price based on the scarcity of available resources in performing that role.
But is this consultant group capable of performing much more than businesses believe they can? And on a related note, why is it that so many businesses who use consultants continue to feel like they didn’t receive the value they were after? This whitepaper tackles these questions head-on by exploring a new approach to the value self-employed consultants deliver.
You can be so different you and I
In my book, Flipping for Success: Rewiring Business Strategy to the New Consumer Age, I describe my fascination between what I call communes and hunter-gatherers.
By nature, hunter-gatherers are always on the go, eager to explore the next mystery around the corner. They are the adventurers and thrill-seekers as well as society’s non-conformists, a shade of pink in a sea of grey and so they are the minority.
For hunter-gatherers, the notion of change is a constant and a given. This is what fuels their lifestyle. They have the ability to become great storytellers; many of us gravitate to them for inspiration. They need not be extroverts, but they are the ones we like to read about.
"The only thing that is constant is change."
Conversely, communes enjoy certainty; they cope better when they better understand the environment they live in. Everyone has a role and a place. Most of us are communes and generally are risk-averse to change. So fierce is the inherent nature to resist it that us communes wait until the last minute to accept the change.
Generalists are similar to those wandering nomads; always searching for what is over the next hill. Trying to make sense of the surrounding landscape by connecting various natural barriers and access points to make their journey easier – finding a new trail through experimentation. Specialists are those craftsmen who ply a trade that others in the community see value in. The better they are at their trade, the more in-demand their products will be.
Similar to the nomad and contrary to what many may perceive, consultants can make great generalists. This is especially true in work engagements where there is cross-functional business value, like in areas of Strategy, Governance and Change Management.
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The views expressed in this whitepaper or resource are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Expert360 organisation, any employers, or any other entity that is affiliated with the author. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author's own views.