High Impact Results Guidelines For Consultants
Consultant with solid record of high impact results is not worried about getting more customers, higher billing rates, and more projects. High impact results get him all that and it also partly eliminate the need for spending time, the consultant’s main currency, on sales and marketing efforts. In today’s word of the mouth interconnected world – results speak louder than words and it quickly catch fire on interwebs. Design your execution for high impact results upfront and you will keep your schedule booked solid with much less efforts. The key guidelines for the high impact results for consultants are:
- Be Relevant
- Apply winning Strategy
- Measure your Execution
- Leverage your Network
Let’s start with relevance. Imagine you have delivered your gig. Now look back and see who’s affected. If nobody is affected, hopefully for better, then there is no impact. The delivered service was not relevant to no one. You may have implemented elegant solution with least resources required in shortest period of time – but the fact no one cares about the results or cares a little makes it obvious, the results had no impact, let alone high impact.
Relevance is key. High impact results are relevant to the people who are involved. High impact results are also relevant in timely manner. Time is one of the critical factors for high impact results.
Ask simple questions:
- Who are the key stakeholders? What are their current key pains and desires?
- Who is the project leader? What’re his current key pains and desires?
- Who are the relevant individual contributors? What are their current key pains and desires?
- Who are the project’s key customers? What are their current ley pains and desires?
Find out who all those people are and what they are after. Then you will have a much better understanding what would high impact results look like.
Apply Winning Strategy
Relevance is about your customers, differentiation is about you. Many can figure out what’s relevant to customers but the path towards actual delivery of the service may vary significantly. Why is it important? It is important since the way you deliver your services is relevant to the customer either! Customers care how you do what you do. They care since it gives them a glimpse whether you are actually capable of what you promise to deliver. They care whether your style fit their values and modulus operandi, if not they may decide to not go with you to avoid harm that your style may potentially cause.
To avoid massive competition you need to position yourself uniquely. You need apply a winning strategy to be and stay unique. Ask yourself what’s unique about what you do and how you do it? Are your measurable results significantly higher than competition? Are your methods unmatched? Do you deliver your services much faster? Do you provide added value on top of core deliverables? Do you share the know-how freely? Do you guarantee results? Do you bill by hourly basis or fixed fee? Do you depend massively on customer’s availability or you can operate independently?
What’s your strategy to be unique?
Measure Your Execution
Outlining relevant outcome and charting the path to it is one thing, delivering to it is a different story. It is easy to get off track and it is even easier to lose sight of relevance when delivering a gig at customer’s. There are so many distractions around you when at customer’s. The distractions can be related to logistics issues such as having a desk and internet connection. Curious employees that want to hang with outsider and hear new stories or tell theirs. It can be directly related to the delivery itself – sudden change of scope or burning questions by the stakeholders or other key people who are involved with the project. The distractions may be unrelated to the customer at all, for example, another customer calls you with urgent issue or a colleague asking for advice to solve his problem. Expect to get knocked off track often.
The key to getting quickly back on track is first breaking the work into smaller pieces and then putting them on the timeline, then checking the progress. Another key is change. Things are not static, expect changes along the course of delivery. What was planned originally may not be relevant anymore – ask yourself, is it still relevant? If not, what is? What can be dropped off the plate that is now less relevant? Measure your pace, test relevance.
Leverage Your Network
Expect unexpected. Things may go wrong, the original plan may become irrelevant introducing new challenges, you hit problems you never solved before, you run out of time just to name a few unexpected things you should expect throughout the course of delivery. There will be plenty of times when you will be clueless of what to do next or how to do it and then how to communicate it to the broader team. Bad news is that you are still the one who needs to deliver the high impact results for the gig.
Your network to the rescue! If you don’t have one – start building it at once. Your network should include not only technical people who would help you with specific technical questions such as “how to fix that?” or “how to configure this?” Make sure your network of trusted people includes everyone who represent people you work with when on assignment – business managers, IT managers, high rank managers, mid managers, finance people, and of course other consultants. Next time you hit the unexpected unknown you can safely fall into the right hands of your network.
Best way to build your network is during the delivery. You usually get exposed to so many different people and you can see them in action. If you see an insightful person who’s willing to share his insights make your move and offer to keep in touch beyond the project. Others build their networks too, so he should jump on the offer. Then occasionally ping him with helpful for him brief info or with quick question. In most cases such connection lasts virtually forever, cherish it so you can trustfully rely on it when on assignment.
- Deliver results that are relevant to key people.
- Define your winning strategy that helps you stand out.
- Measure your progress and relevancy throughout the delivery.
- Set a goal of making new friends when on assignment to widen and strengthen your network.