Anyone who’s ever worked as a consultant can tell you that it’s an extremely unique position to walk into an organization as an outsider. Consultants have the interesting perspective of observing company culture as a third party. This can be a huge benefit to helping clients. The extra perspective can help people to be at their best. This also puts the consultant in the interesting position of being the company psychologist at times.
I’ve had experiences where I’ve had to figuratively talk a person down from the ledge. Maybe the business is changing direction and someone gets down on themselves about it. Change can be hard. If someone had a role that they were happy with and now they are required to do something else, you may have to take some time helping them to accept this change. You may have to remind clients that no matter what transitions they are going through at work, it’s not always going to be this way. They may not like their job, the people they’re dealing with, or the direction things are currently going –but this is a phase.
As a consultant, you have to communicate that they will move on to something else once they’re done with this phase. Maybe the next phase will be the best one yet. It is an advantage to be a consultant observing culture in a company and to be able to comment and help people through with some perspective. There may be clients and employees at the organization you’re consulting for that this has been their only job. As a consultant, working with many different companies, you’ve seen a lot and done a lot so you have plenty of extra perspective to help people be their best. Change is not always a bad thing. Help your teammates remember this and transition successfully. This includes reminding them that it is okay to do different things and take on new responsibilities. This too shall pass. You can grow.
Sometimes the biggest issue that people have is simply the lack the experience of having been through it; things change all the time.
We’ve talked a lot before about consultants wearing multiple hats. This is truer than ever. Adding outside perspective, counseling clients in times when the transitions are difficult, and ingraining your experience are some of the most valuable tools you can bring as a consultant.
What are your thoughts on being the “company psychologist” as a consultant? Do you think it’s in the job description?