Companies are constantly looking for employees who can add positive value, so start wearing your “internal consulting” hat while at work.
If you’ve been trying to climb the career ladder or want to get promoted, here’s a technique that can really help: Think of yourself as an internal consultant.
Consultants are hired to assess a situation and then create action plans for improvement. They are paid for their expertise and their calm, professional demeanor, especially in times of difficulty. By thinking of yourself as an internal consultant, you can use this same frame of reference to demonstrate how you add value to your department, to your company and even to your boss. Here’s how.
Stay calm. Consultants must remain composed throughout a consulting engagement, or they probably won’t be hired again in the future. Take a look at how you normally respond when you’re under pressure or angry. If you tend to lash out at others or get defensive, work on changing your behavior.
Analyze all angles of a situation before responding. Consultants are paid to assess a process from every angle and determine the options before presenting their recommended solution. Following this same process as an employee helps ensure you uncover the root causes of problems, not just symptoms. It will also ensure your ideas are well thought out.
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Don’t be afraid to consult other experts. Consultants know they aren’t experts on every topic, and they aren’t afraid to seek the opinions of others. Make sure to seek out other employees for their feedback on important projects or assignments.
Understand your manager’s goals. Consultants must work with each client to define their client’s specific needs. Follow this same process by finding out your manager’s key objectives and priorities. Then, think about ways you can help him or her achieve these department goals.
Agree on communication. At the beginning of every business engagement, consultants agree with their client on the method and timing for communication. Find out your manager’s preferred interaction with you. Does he or she prefer written or in-person communication? Weekly, biweekly or monthly updates? Once you know this information, adapt your communication style to best fit your manager’s preferences. Then provide progress updates on your projects and key tasks.
Do outstanding work. As a consultant, doing mediocre work won’t get you additional clients. This is similar to employees who do average work — it won’t get them promoted. So look for ways you can go above and beyond the daily requirements to demonstrate how you add value to the organization.