There is a lot to be said for common sense in the world of business consulting. It is a competitive world, and the very best in the business rise to the top only through hard work and some practical approaches. Problems happen when people leave the corporate world and launch into a business consultancy, and expect the consultancy work to be anything like the corporate environment they have just left.
If this distinction between corporate and consultancy is not recognised quickly by anyone who wants to consult, they will soon find that they lose clients quicker than they gain them.
In the corporate world, and in management in particular, people generally get used to control. They can control the people, and the situations around them more readily because they have a defined role and level of responsibility. This is something that is not present in consulting, where a person can only ever influence the people he or she is talking to. Sometimes it can be a bitter pill to swallow. We want to control, especially when we are talking to teams, but if all we can ever do is advise and influence, we may even question why we do what we do.
Another aspect that is different to swallow is the fact that time management is entirely out of your control when it comes to creating deals and making appointments and so on. With regard to clients in consulting, you may not be able to influence when they will meet or or even when they will buy, simply because you do not exist as part of their company and their daily processes in that company. The new consultant must understand this; otherwise he or she will feel that they have no control over the situation. Realise that you are on your client’s time, and you should be fine.
So those are two of the main challenges facing new consultants. It is important to remember that consultants are advisers, not managers, especially if you are to make progress.