Before we see what the key attributes of a good consultant are, it is important to know what is involved in a consulting job.
First and foremost, the consultant has to interact with the individuals or a group of individuals representing the customer. This interaction will result in the consultant understanding the nuances of the customer’s business. Often, these are either the business owners or the key decision makers.
What role does the consultant play here? The consultant’s role is to give the persons involved, guidance on business strategy, or new ways of doing the same tasks; which leads to some improvement in either one or more business parameters for the company. It could be the company’s operations, company’s image in the market, its product quality or its service quality.
In order to be highly effective in this role, consultant must possess following attributes:
1. A good reading and writing skill set is necessary as the consultant would be writing any one of the following often.
- Reports: these are written to assess the future impact of current business strategies.
- Any agreements for future business solutions
- Even, any written proposals
2. The consultant must be a good leader: Normally, the consultant has to liaise with the parties concerned on behalf of the customer, i.e. to get up to speed is on the work progress, tracking, and day-to-day manufacturing issues. It is the consultant’s job to know where the project stands and communicate this to the customer. This is not easy as it demands a voracious reading habit so that it keeps track of the project status.
3. The unique feature of a consultant that cannot exist in other jobs is the orientation to the cutting edge of technology. This is very important as the consultant has to act on the ground level and bring the new age technology to bear so that it can be assimilated by the customer. To be able to do this, the consultant must have a good knowledge of the new technologies.
4. The third attribute is the attention to details. The consultants have to portray the picture or shape of the future to the customer, without correct details, the picture is incomplete. The details consist of available technology and existing business models. However, there should be an objective while selecting the details as there is a fine line between the right and the wrong detail.
5. A good conversational skill is to assist the negotiator or the teacher in the role of the consultant. The ability to provide a detailed explanation of the work in progress, in simple and easy-to-understand terms, is important as it makes the task of the process easier. This is another area of essential portion of the consultant’s work.
6. An eye to recoup the costs in the form of settlements from the customers and for the sale of services is an important attribute of the consultant. The ability to offer a solution that earns the consultant and results in added value for the customer is the ideal. Cost-cutting is not the only way, rather, it must result in adding value to the customer.
The above 6 attributes are all important for the consultant to be able to give the customer what they need, rather than what they ask for. The growth of a consulting career is upward as is the growth of the company that the consultant works for.