Consulting is job with a lot of “first days”
When Guy Felder and I decided to start SpurCG it got me thinking about the type of person I am and how I start a new job. I’ve only had 7 jobs in my life (well, eight if you add sled hill guard at 15 years old). I learned so much from each, but one of the things that I continue to learn, because the time to learn is so short, is how to be on the first day, in the first month, 6 months later, and at the year mark.
I used to think that I was hired because I knew what I was doing and was expected to come in and make a splash. I thought that the people hiring me were going to immediately trust me and let me do what I thought was best. It took me three, maybe even four, jobs to realize it doesn’t really work that way.
Twenty-one years later and 7 first days and first weeks, I’ve learned to listen. I’ve learned to hear what the people who have been there before have to say. I’ve learned that it is better to discover than to assume. I’m confident in my skill set and my experiences, but life is all about learning. The people and schools I worked with all taught me something.
In the end, I’ve learned that people will seek me out because they know I have a certain skill set or quality they would like to bring to their institution. But, they want to be heard to make sure I have all the information.
Each time we begin a consulting gig at SpurCG, it’s another first day on a new job. We may think we have an idea of the situation and the outcome, but we still have to listen. I like how my business partner, Guy, frames this. He says there are two modes, asking and telling. I think a good consultant spends most of their time in conversations with clients, asking questions. I aspire to do this.