A Consultant’s “Jerry Maguire” Moment

Much is made of the elusive “moment of clarity.” That singular point in time in which a vision is crystalized and distractions are muted. When concept and meaning burst forth into form and truth. To some, it’s a spiritual moment achieved through considerable acts of sacrifice, study and faith. To others, it happens through intentional non-action.

For many of us, though, it’s a far less mystical event born out of sheer dumb luck.

I recently experienced such a moment of accidental clarity while cleaning out a desk drawer. On a single dog-eared, coffee-stained sheet of paper, I found a reminder of what it takes to excel in the art of consulting. A reminder of the qualities I admire in good consultants and those traits I witness our clients valuing to this day.

Early in my consulting career, as I was preparing to present at an annual consultant review meeting, I made a list of characteristics to describe what I thought set my team apart from their peers:

  • Tenacity
  • Humility
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication Skills.

At the time of writing, I simply wanted to articulate and advocate differentiating capabilities and behaviors that proved my advisees were exceptional consultants beyond the rote consulting expectations frameworks and performance management metrics against which everyone else was evaluated.

Upon rediscovering this relic of consultant reviews past, I am directly reminded that nothing has changed. I am reminded that this combination of consulting traits and capabilities provides real value in working relationships with our peers and clients and drives quality work products and successful outcomes.

Over the next few months, I plan to individually revisit each of the characteristics listed above. I intend to ruminate on their ongoing relevance in providing real value to our clients and I look forward to providing real examples of how my teams continue to demonstrate them.

Along the way, I hope to elicit feedback and stoke discussion from the perspective of professional consultants and of our clients. Maybe the discussion will spark another moment of clarity, big or small, for each of us.  Or maybe, the discussion will just serve as a series of reminders about expectations for the craft of consulting.

Thanks in advance for your input. I look forward to the dialogue.

PS – I realize now that I missed a few things at the time. Things like Empathy, Simplicity, Balance, Clarity, etc … But I’m sure we’ll get to those and plenty of others.

About Todd Turman

Todd is a Consulting Executive whose focus is leading high performing teams and developing trusted client partnerships. His guiding principles are integrity, speed to value, and shared success. When not helping solve client challenges, Todd can be found with his wife Torii watching their kids compete on the soccer field or a track. Sometimes he even sneaks in some golf with family and friends.

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