Thursday, December 22, 2016

What does it take to become a good management consultant?

When the question in the title came up, all the answers seemed to be answering a different question, something like 

What does it take to get a good job as a management consultant in a large consulting firm?

Lots of people who are not good consultants get jobs as management consultants in large consulting firms. And lots of good consultants can't get jobs with such firms. I know these things because I've been a consultant (a consultant's consultant) to a number of such firms.

If you really want to know what it takes to become a good management consultant, the answer begins with the observation that there are many different styles of good management consulting. The most important quality good management consulting requires is the ability to know yourself, both the good and the bad, along with the ability to retain the good things and improve the bad ones.

To take one example, consider health. I’ve watched many would-be management consultants fail because they couldn't control their drinking or eating habits when traveling on an expense account.

Or another example is would-be consultants who think their domain knowledge will be sufficient for doing a good job, but they lack "people skills." They believe, erroneously, that they can be arrogant, offensive, non-empathetic consultants but people will hire them because they're so smart and well-informed. They're wrong, and most of them never realize why they're failing. That's why I've written a number of books for consultants who wish to improve their consulting success:

Want to see a list of my books?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What's the most touching thing to say to a teacher?

What's the most touching thing to say to a teacher?

The question was, "What's the most touching thing to say to a teacher?" There were many fine answers, and all of them said more or less the same thing: thank your teacher for changing your life.

I agree that telling your teacher “thank you” can be touching, but in my 60+ years of teaching, it’s only the second most touching thing. So, what’s the most touching?

What touches me most is when a student teaches me something I did not know. That shows me that the student has become a contemporary, a grown-up person who will go on to teach others, part of the great chain of “paying forward.” When that happens, I know that I have succeeded in some small way of helping that student and the world in which we all live. That’s what touches me the deepest.

Moreover, in my career such learning has happened thousands of times. If I am a better teacher today, a better human being, I owe it all to my students. Thank you, students. Thank you.

See, Experiential Learning for more on how and why I learn from my students, so you, too, can be touched by what they teach you.