10 Things Consultants Should Learn From Dagny Taggart

Atlas ShruggedI finally saw the movie, Atlas Shrugged: Part One, on Netflix. Loved it, especially Dagny, the main character. I could easily use her as a role model for consulting. She is passionate, makes quick decisions, knows how to let go, focused on her goals, values driven, gives in to the joy of success, she is “blue collar”, she picks the right few partners, she demonstrates strong EQ, and she has strong entrepreneurship spirit.

1. Passion

Dagny is passionate about what she is doing. She cares about her colleagues, she’s passionate about her business and her new “startup.” Her passion shows when contrasting with her brother who appears to be very smart when it comes to politics yet not too smart when it comes to core business. Consultant must be passionate about what he is doing and what impact he brings on the table.

2. Quick decisions

Dagny makes quick decision. She trusts her guts and moves quickly. She leaves her family business to save it. She adopts new untested technology. She trades her jewelry necklets for small piece of steel in form of bracelet. Consultant must feel comfortable making quick decision especially when he bills hourly which he is in vast majority of cases.

3. Letting go

Dagny let things go easily. She lets her best employee go after briefly trying to make him name his price and being turned down. She leaves her family business with ease based on cold blood decision. I cannot remember any moment when she was too emotional or overreacting. Consultant must learn how to let things go with ease, often times a customer will hear what consultant has to say yet won’t follow his advise only to realize that was bad decision in first place. Let it go and skip “I told you so!”

4. Goal focused

Dagny’s passion comes from her desire to achieve the goal she set for herself. She is not emotionally attached to something. She is purely goal driven and nothing seems to stop her on her way to it. Setting crisp clear goals and sticking to them throughout execution is a skill not many possess yet it’s vital for consultants.

5. Values driven

Dagny is values driven. While her brother is driven by his government “friends” Dagny is driven by values. One of her most prominent is values are business conduct and dignity. Consultant must be crisply clear aware of his values and be driven by them, it surely eases the decision making and builds strong brand too.

6. Joy of success

Dagny shines when she succeeds, she never holds back her joy and emotions related to success. On one hand consultant operates as a flawless machine yet he works with people on the other. Human touch is vital both ways – for those the consultant works with and for himself.

7. Blue collar

Dagny is no white collar kind of gal. She does not always sit in her office barking orders. She is where the action is. She knows her stuff in and out. Consultant must know what to do and many actually do, that’s taken for granted. Yet quite a few know how to do it well and even fewer know why it works. That’s what I call blue collar consultant and from my observations those are valued the most by customers.

8. Partnering

Dagny partners with like-minded. She partners with those who she can depend on and in return she offers the same, they can depend on her – even when they are in doubt, she proves they can. Partnering is vital in consulting. No matter how deep consultant’s knowledge is it is still limited. Partnering with like-minded enables limitless scalability.

9. High EQ

Dagny demonstrates strong character when it comes to emotions. Most prominent episode is when Willis Wyatt comes to Dagny’s office screaming at her and she keeps cool even offering him to shake his hand telling him she won’t disappoint him despite his rude behavior, he turned it down telling her “We’ll see.” Consultant is involved in so many conflicts – either technical or purely political in the organization he is conducting his work. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is key to survive, keep sane, and show outstanding results in this business.

10. Entrepreneurship spirit

Dagny never settles on what’s achieved – she strives for more and for bigger and more aggressive goals. Same with consultants, the growth is about taking on more challenging and tougher problems otherwise the consultant becomes dumping ground.


I am eager to see Part II. Both for enjoying the movie and for learning more what can be adopted for consultancy.


image by C. G. P. Grey

Posted in: Consulting

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11 Comments on "10 Things Consultants Should Learn From Dagny Taggart"

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  1. Shilpan says:

    Alik, I liked #3 and #4. Those are essential traits of not only a good business person or a consultant, but also for any aspect of your life.

  2. alik levin says:

    So true, so true.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    Letting things go is such a key skill for life.

    It goes hand-in-hand with hanging on and fighting the good fight and taking the high road.

  4. alik levin says:

    Indeed, but surprisingly one of the toughest to learn

  5. I have not heard of this movie, but I do like the message you took from it. Like Shilpan, I am also a fan of #3 and #4. Setting your goals and moving past all the small things are the way to get results!

  6. Alik Levin says:

    See this movie – you will be intrigued especially having in mind your are focused on finances. It shows the US in 2016 and gas prices going up and government takes “ownership” of private sector… wait a minute… feels like it happens now… it’s written based on Ayn Rand’s book. Watch the movie – you won’t regret.

  7. Manning says:

    I like all ten points and I think they could be useful to me in my work at DISH. I looked the film up on Blockbuster @Home and after watching the trailer, I’ve added it to my queue. The trailer itself seems powerful and I’m interested to watch the character, Dagny Taggart, who is able to embody all of these useful values.

  8. alik levin says:

    You won’t be disappointed watching the film.

  9. Rick K says:

    Great take-aways from the movie.

    I enjoyed the movie, but really loved the book. The ideas there changed my life for the better in many ways.

  10. Alik Levin says:

    I remember very well your take on what was going on w/economy and i understand why the book/movie resonated w/you. Your views were quite eye opening for me back then.

  11. curtis c says:

    i think a good point would be to belieave in the adive being given.

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