10 Things Consultants Should Learn From Dagny Taggart
I 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.
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.
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. Grey30 March 2012