In the pursuit of personal and professional growth, many have turned to consultants. What is a consultant?
A consultant is a noun. The simple definition – a person who provides expert advice professionally. So, let’s deconstruct that and dive further into the question, consultant – what is it?
A consultant is a person.
People need people. We all have our people but not all our people are helping us move towards our vision or live out our values. Synonymous with consultant is the mentor. As we noted previously in The Daily Positive, “Professional athletes have coaches and trainers even though they are at the very height of their professional skills, earning, and influence. Seeking the assistance of someone who can assist you to tug, carry, or chart your way through the murky waters of personal development can be a very positive and fulfilling addition to your professional adventure.” The perspective of another person can be a helpful thing. Forbes outlines that for a person to be successful as a consultant they need to be – different, strong and committed.
A consultant is a person who provides expert advice.
There is an odd paradox in most organizations where those in a position of leadership (PIAPOL), if they are willing to recognize that they need to improve they often overlook the resources within their own teams. I remember working with a church in California and hearing, a consultant is anyone that doesn’t work in your own organization. Expressing the sentiment that leaders and organizations will often turn outward before they turn inward for ideas. Scott Adams, the famed creator of the comic Dilbert puts it this way, “Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.” Expert advice should be born of expert experience rather than just expertly worded or presented information.
A consultant is a person who provides expert advice professionally.
To the cynic, a mentor is anyone who convinces another person that they should be paid for their opinions. Frequently consulting firms are hired based upon their branding, name recognition, rather than individualized skills or perspectives relevant to the organization that they are assisting. I recall early in my career working with a company in Oregon that had hired a consulting firm. A young man fresh out of school came and ran a weeks worth of interviews and metrics only to share with us a few generic recommendations. The bill did not match the attention, recommendations or follow through from the firm or the expert we were assigned. A consultant should be a person, but that should not be the only qualification. A business coach should have unique skills to bring to the table and should have expert advice earned through experience in helping organizations achieve their goals.
Like a skilled personal trainer who assists clients to reach their health goals, a business consultant will be skilled in drawing out the vision of the person they are working with, outlining a progressive plan to identify, build upon and reach their goals. It’s fun to watch someone like Gordon Ramsey who is an entertaining character but has crafted a persona of getting in, getting the best out of a team and then getting out, as he does in his newest show 24 Hours to Hell and Back. The consultant works with the client, coming alongside them and progressively working themselves out of a job. A good mentor, coach or consultant will be mindful to ensure there are developing the will, the skill and the chill of their client rather than making them dependent.
A quality consultant relationship will help you connect with resources, collaborate on ideas and conquer your goals.
Keys to ensuring that you are making progress on your personal and professional goals.
Moving forward isn’t the only measure of success as it is possible to be moving forward in an endless circle that goes nowhere. How do we ensure that our efforts are not being wasted? What steps can we take to ensure that our will is in alignment with reality?
We will discuss a few key components to skillfully navigating the challenges of the market place.
1. Measure correctly
Moving forward isn’t the only measure of progress. Like being lost in the woods, we can be walking with great effort and purpose and yet find that we have succeeded only in arriving at the spot from which we started. We moved forward in a large and arduous circle. It wasn’t for lack of effort, but for lack of skill and commitment to identifying a reference point. In business we need benchmarks that track our progress.
2. Identify a reference point(s)
We recently, and successfully, trained our first adolescent driver in our immediate family. The one thing that we continued to stress, whether they were positioning themselves in their lane or preparing to reverse into a parking spot, was that you have to identify a reference point. If we are going to reach our goals we need a reference point tells us whether we have made progress and directs our steps forward.
3. Onward and upward
Most in a position of leadership would say that they have the will to succeed, yet our dreams need a framework in order to evolve into plans in action. Align your will to succeed with a direction based on your reference point to ensure you are moving in the right direction. Honesty with one’s self is as essential as constructive input from trusted mentors.
Growth requires moving beyond one’s comfort zone and progress requires will, skill and chill in to reach one’s goals. The will to succeed combined with the skill to accurately assess whether we are making headway can provide the chill to endure any obstacle.
Moving in circles is moving forward, one must dig deeper to ensure effort isn't wasted.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
Business leaders need to clarify their values to enable their teams to achieve success.
While there are many things that make Gordon Ramsey unique and successful, his keys to helping businesses succeed have a few key principles.
Gordon Ramsey is back in the saddle, taking nightmare kitchens and working his magic to help them down the road to success. This newest version is called 24 Hours to Hell and Back, Wednesday nights at 9 PM on FOX. They say cleanliness is next to godliness, but many people don’t care about godliness anymore so cleanliness must be rapidly approaching the top spot. It is not coincidence that the first principle of success, and antithetically to failure, is that of the simple commitment to cleanliness.
If you have rats in your kitchen, you may have given up.
How much skill and effort does it take to keep rats, cockroaches, ants and other rodents out of a commercial kitchen? While there may be a cute Disney movie about the potential skills of certain rodents, the restrauntuers that Gordon works with have not discovered Remy. “Disgusting.” In episode 1 of 24 Hours to Hell and Back, the kitchen staff are caught on tape cracking jokes about the rats running through the kitchen. Success, like cleanliness, requires elbow grease. You have to be willing to see what is wrong and consistently work to keep the commitment to a sanitary kitchen on lock.
If your cold storage is full of rotten meat, you may have given up.
Whomever does the scouting for the businesses for Chef Ramsey to transform must make the walk-in one of their first stops. Prior to this undercover version, Gordon would arrive at a restaurant and order nearly everything on the menu. It was surprising how many business owners didn’t shut down their own operation and just start clearing out their gross cold-storage. Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the disgusting kitchen is just how many people are oblivious of these conditions or that it’s a problem.
If your team doesn’t follow basic sanitary principles, you may have given up.
If you are new to the Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare scenario, you will soon learn that no one is safe from Gordon’s ire. As he burrows into the issues he demonstrates a skill for sniffing out the issues that are often obvious but that those in a position of leadership have been unwilling to address. Regardless of the pile up, Chef Ramsey will get around to the owner and remind them that if this transformation is going to last they have to get their will and their skill back into their business. The culture and results of the restaurant are measures of the applied influence of the owner. When the owner has given up that standard filters through all operations.
There is a great video of a speech by Navy Seal Admiral William McRaven who remarks, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” He elaborates that by making your bed every day you build discipline while starting your day off with a simple accomplishment to set the tone. Build your pursuit of success one habit at a time. Growth is often the result of several small steps rather than giant leaps.
Similarly, Gordon Ramsey brings a giant spotlight into failing businesses and points to aspects such as cleanliness that should be very obvious. Whether your train has fallen off the rails and you need to right your course or you building your team towards the goal of consistently making progress, the simple discipline of cleanliness should not be lost. These principles are keys for leading yourself as well as leading others and building teams.
Mistakes do not have to be a curse nor failure the last nail in the coffin, good teams and strong leaders learn from everything.
Organizations want to reduce mistakes, eliminate failures and insulate themselves from negative consequences. Focusing on failure would be an error. Persons in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) need to approach issues with the skill and precision of an epidemiologist dispatched to discover the root cause of an outbreak. There is a difference between a mistake and a repeated mistake as well as those made in the course of learning new skills and those made for lack of care. We will explore three simple principles that will assist your team to gaining from failures rather than allowing them to cause you to fall behind.
Three keys 🔑 to making a mistake count:
Ignorance is not bliss, it’s a death sentence.
What does the second most quoted English poet, Alexander Pope have to say about failure? “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. For an organization the biggest mistake is to not allow room for employees to make mistakes. If the culture of the company is to be heavy handed with mistakes then they will miss opportunities to hear about near misses that could expedite the process of adaptation. Experimentation is a scientific process that inherently relies on failure. We theorize, we test our theories in real world applications and we learn whether our theory is true or untrue. In that process there are several steps where our perspectives were wrong and we adjust course to move closer to our goals.
Pain of failure is a lifelong professor, fear of failure will cut you off at the knees.
Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Jeremey E Sherman makes a few philosophical observations about the natures of mistakes, “ We learn by trial and error, but learn much faster when trials are similar and errors are clearer.” Touching on the reality in life that most of us are stubborn and chose the hard road when learning something. But he elaborates on a principle that will help unlock the formula to reducing the frequency and impact of those mistakes, simplification, “The cobbler’s trials are largely the same from shoe to shoe—same materials, tools and workspace, and his errors are easy to identify—this shoe fell apart; that one didn’t fit.” This means we can either engage in simplified tasks to minimize our exposure to the potential for failure or we can work to build processes that simplify what we do. Many people in leadership will mention making their systems like McDonald’s to achieve a consistent product output. Efficiency is essential in any business, reducing waste and optimizing operational flow, as long as that process does not completely choke out any room for organizational creativity which is essential in our rapidly evolving market.
Moving forward isn’t the only measure of success as it is possible to be moving forward in an endless circle that goes nowhere. Move onward and upward.
If we know and own our mistakes we aren’t afraid to share them which allows our teams to learn openly and rapidly from them. As the market evolves we have to be willing to admit that what worked yesterday will not work today, so we are constantly evolving and thereby operating in trial and error. Trial and error is a scientific process if we structure our thoughts and experiments towards being productive in a learning culture. Failure in the scientific process is not the end of the road but a step towards truth. When the great inventors Thomas Edison was asked about the apparent fruitlessness of his labors while developing battery technology, he replied, "Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work." By admitting what hasn’t worked we can move towards what will. By creating an environment where mistakes can be shared, the lessons can be spread more expediently to assist others in not repeating them.
When failures happen we must lean into them rather than avoiding them because they often hold the keys to unlocking the next level of lessons. We often view or desire to take broad steps in our growth but it is important to remember that consistent progress can come in the form of crawling, taking small steps or wading through thick muck. We cannot ignore our mistakes, this is a recipe for repeating the same issues. We created a video that demonstrates and exposes the errors in several common management approaches to employee mistakes, you will laugh and learn.
Onward and upward.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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