As we gear up for Q3, and enjoy a long weekend here in North America, it’s a great time to reflect on the first half of the year, and to plan for growth in the weeks and months ahead.
We’ve curated just a few of our favorite posts from Actionable Consultants to help you think about the shifting trends in the consulting market, and to help you leverage those trends as opportunities to grow your business.
Our brains are exceptionally well-designed for a reality that is different from the one we currently live in. We process social threats the same way we process physical threats—with a fight or flight response. This makes giving feedback, evaluating performance, and having tough conversations with your clients and prospects exceptionally difficult. And yet, neuroplasticity means that we can rewire our brains, even as adults. As you work with your clients, it’s important to understand the threat response, and to minimize the perception of threats, in order to get the best results.
There’s an overwhelming amount of change in organizations today. Transitioning to new technology, on a small or large scale, can be daunting, and when combined with a high volume of change in other parts of work, can be the final straw, with decision makers choosing to stay with the status quo even if it no longer serves the needs of the organization. Your clients are looking to you to model change behavior, to embrace the shifts in the learning and technology landscape, and to leverage the incredible opportunities that these changes can provide.
I get it, you probably don’t think of yourself as being in sales. You’re a problem solver for your clients. But you can’t solve those problems until you can get past the proposal stage and get to yes. This means you have to be certain in the efficacy of your offerings, and be comfortable communicating your value. Becoming a trusted advisor to your clients will help you get out of the front of the room, and deepen your impact. If you’ve been having trouble getting past the proposal stage, look to the trust equation for potential areas of improvement—are you cultivating credibility, reliability, and intimacy, with a balanced sense of self-interest?
Your clients need an agile mindset, and that means that you have to help them shift—away from thinking of learning as something done to them or for them, toward something done by them, with your guidance. To accomplish this, your clients need cultures where they can talk openly with each other—with candor, transparency, trust, and respect. These kinds of conversations cannot be viewed as something that is “nice to have—when we have time.” To shift their cultures, start by modelling this transparency and candor in the conversations you have with your clients.
To meet the demands of a constantly changing business landscape, organizations and teams need to shift their thinking about learning—it can no longer be a once-a-year, or once-a-quarter event—learning must become a cornerstone of organizational culture. This means that the L&D function must undergo a radical shift, from providing content-based solutions to learning initiatives that are integrated into the context of day-to-day operations. Not all consultants are ready to be leaders through this transition. Even if learning and training is only a small part of your client offering, you need to be thinking ahead to holistic solutions that integrate learning into the culture of your client organizations—or risk allowing them to get left behind.
The world of work is changing rapidly. For consultants and coaches, these changes can be viewed as a challenge, or as an opportunity—but only one thing is certain: change is the new constant. We hope that these posts will help you think about how you can shift your business in parallel, and leverage these changes as opportunities to scale your business, and deepen your impact with your clients.