The Consulting Skill/Mind-Set

This morning a long-time friend messaged me enquiring about the ‘consulting’ skill and mind-set. She recently transitioned out of law and legal roles into a business team supporting the CXO of a Big4 but primarily made of people with management consulting backgrounds.

I haven’t written much on this topic previously but it got me to reflect for a few moments. Below is what I texted her back soon after focusing on the 3 areas which immediately came to mind.

(I’ve copied and pasted directly from WhatsApp and avoided the temptation to edit as thought it read more…authentically).

[08:36, 26/01/2023] Essa: Re the ‘consulting’ skill/mind-set it’s a good Q/topic. Having now had 15+yrs in consulting I’d recco focus on a few areas if keen to learn / upskill etc – there may be more but here’s a quick list:

[08:39, 26/01/2023] Essa: 1-Problem Solving. Working out how to frame and attack a biz / customer etc problem and structure / comm / present it. I don’t have a go-to resource esp for people new wanting to upskill but Bullet Proof Problem Solving written by ex-McK guys was good for me to refresh but prob advanced. It’s more about learning the mindset, the questions to ask, how to structure, and ongoing curiosity

[08:42, 26/01/2023] Essa: 2. Frameworks/Methodologies. There’s a tonne out there depending on your domain so whatever your’re working (whether growth strategy, customer problem solving etc) on seek out the frameworks, methodologies and best practices for that topic. In Innovation you have JobsToBeDone, Design Thinking, Human Centric Design etc. StrategyTools book comes to mind but it is old school i.e. 60s-90s mgmt thinking. If there’s a current version covering past 20+ yrs of mgmt frameworks that would be good. But whatever your niche area of focus you wont need the wider tools unless curious, as can easily find out the methods and go deep on those

[08:44, 26/01/2023] Essa: 3. Get The Right Sh&T Done. The non-technical term for implementation – making change happen. Emphasis on the right stuff as often orgs spend the most time on things that don’t matter/have impact. Always be thinking about impact, objectives, KPIs and spending your/team time properly to make the stakeholders./CXO look good, align with overall strategic plans (if exists), and achieve results

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