Working as a Consultant: Importance of "I" vs "We" in Consulting

Working as a Consultant: Importance of "I" vs "We" in Consulting

As a consultant, I’ve found that the use of pronouns is actually a much bigger deal than you might think.  When I walk into a project, it stands out so people that I say “you” all the time.  “You” all need to do this.  “You” should be focused on this at this point. “Your” main priority should be this. The companies that I consult for often ask me why it is that I spend my time saying “you, you, you” when they believe I should be saying “we” or “us”.  Well, the answer is pretty simple.

Consultants enter into a business or company that is not their own.  As a consultant, I take over or lead projects that will ultimately help improve the businesses that I’m consulting for.  But, although I become embedded in these companies, they are still not actually my companies.  At the end of the day, “you” do need to do this stuff, not “me”.  This is not my company; it is yours.  Talks tend to end up in third person when it comes to the business.  “Company A” needs to do this and “Company A” needs to do that.  These are common phrases I use.

Some people might argue that this separates consultants from the companies that they are consulting for. I would argue that these two things are actually already separate.  Consultants are like a second opinion that was called in or an expert in a certain field to come in and do the things that they do.  You can think of consultants as a special team –I’m not a part of the starting lineup.  “You” are the starting lineup.  Remember that.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, if anything, I would think that this should empower you to immerse yourself in your business. Because it is your business.  It’s just a mindset that you have to keep when consultanting.  This is not “mine”, it is “yours”.  Bottom line for us consultants is that this is your company, not ours.  Your project, your brand, your image.

As a consultant, I am happy to help. I am HERE to help. But, at the end of the day businesses, this is on “you”.  “You” do need to do this. “You” should be focused on this at this point. “Your” main priority should be this. You, you, and you.  Like I said, I am a special team –not the starting lineup.

What are your thoughts on the importance of pronouns in the consulting business? Do you think we should make a clear distinction or not? Thoughts? Comment below!

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  • 8 October 2015
  • Author: James Nagy
  • Number of views: 1665
James Nagy

James NagyJames Nagy

Need a consultant today? How can I help? As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of J&S Tech Designs I have nearly three decades of experience and expertise to share with you to help your business, product, or idea thrive. If you like this article, please sign up in the “stay informed” section!

Other posts by James Nagy

Full biography

Full biography

James Nagy is managing partner and co-founder of J&S Tech Designs - a business consulting organization that specializes in providing software and website design, development, and management expertise to organizations. He is also Managing Director and one of four co-founders of Sprocket Websites, Inc. and Chief Executive Office and one of four co-founding members of Clinical Collaboration Software, LLC.

James has over twenty-five years of experience in the information technology field, spending twenty years in software development, sixteen years in executive management and the last six years as a serial entrepreneur launching and running several successful technology organizations.

Throughout his career he has led companies, divisions, departments and teams to successful outcomes. He has executed process reengineering within organizations that were struggling to produce. He has provided strategic vision and organization planning in situations that needed direction. He has built complex systems in several unique marketplaces that required thorough knowledge and expertise to be successful. It is his passion for excellence and desire for success that has enabled him to meet the challenges presented and continue to exceed expectations.

James’ passion for delivering innovative solutions and creative strategies enabled him to develop strong business foundations for long-term success. He is an active member of the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, the North of the River Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce where he served on several teams, advisory committees, and legislative groups. He is a founding member of the Chicago Area DotNetNuke Users Group that has held several large, successful Website design and development events. James has donated time, money and expertise to many volunteer, fundraising and charitable organizations like KidsMatter of Naperville, The Naperville Film Festival, Summer Place Theatre, TEDxNaperville, Neuqua Valley High School Senior Spectacular and many others.

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