There were a number of factors that persuaded me to take the plunge and it didn't happen overnight. Two really important factors for me were: 1) having a spouse who was highly supportive of me taking the risk to establish a practice even though it meant a significant change on a number of fronts until I got up and running, (e.g. income, family responsibilities, hours of work, etc.), and, 2) the advice I received from a well-respected member of CMC-Canada (specifically, John Callaghan, FCMC) who became and continues to be a mentor. I still remember during a meeting I had with him trying to figure this all out, how important and influential it was to hear him say “…just do it.” For me it meant embracing the fear and enjoying the challenge.
There a lot of things that I love about the consulting profession. The independence afforded by the profession, and, the ability to forge meaningful business relationships with clients and other members of the profession, are important to me. Another has been the affirmation from clients and colleagues that my work has actually made a difference.
There’s very little I don’t like about consulting. But if I have to pick one, I don't really enjoy responding to RFPs. However, that process can be both fun and fulfilling if it involves an opportunity to collaborate with one or more of my colleagues. On many occasions, this has often proven to be a very affirming and valuable process.
A tough question to answer especially in terms of a single engagement. I'd have to say it has been those engagements where the work and advice that I have done for a client have really made a substantive, measurable, and visible difference to a client's operations, strategy, leadership, or culture that the client hadn't already identified.
A number of clients have told me that it's my ability to be truthful, independent, and honest in a manner that is both accessible and respectful and conveys a sense that I am providing my best advice with my client's needs and interests at the forefront.
W.P. Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe" still remains at the top on my all-time favourite booklist because of how it reinforces the need to keep dreaming and the affirmation that "...if you build it they will come." That might be important when I'm putting together a big SOS sign on the island.
With respect to a luxury item, my practical side says I would take a fully stocked and water-tight tool box. Do you know how expensive that would be? My decadent side says to bring along a well-aged bottle of rare single malt. I would probably bring a tool box large enough to have both.
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