One of the most difficult, and interesting, parts of being a consultant is stepping into a new company for each new client.  You have to be able to adapt, have perspective, and reconfigure your strategy based on what the current atmosphere requires.  A great way to give yourself a head start in this department is to know your strengths and weaknesses. This isn’t a self analysis.  This is looking around you and taking inventory of relationships in an organization.

Run a SWOT analysis on the employees around you.  Identify who your strength, weakness, opportunities and threats are.  This goes hand in hand with the whole “know your friends and know your enemies” mentality.  This is a great way to come into a new situation and figure out how to handle the political landscape when you step in. Think about it from a SWOT analysis perspective when you’re considering relationships in an organization.

Ask yourself these questions: Is this person going to be an ally? Are they a threat if I give them information? Is there an opportunity to help someone grow here? Who are your strengths? What bucket do they fall in? The SWOT analysis fits into four different quadrants.  You can mentally put people in each of those quadrants for future reference and maneuvering around.  Remember also that people can fit into more than one classification.  Someone may have some strengths, but they may also be a threat.  Someone may have weaknesses, but also have a great potential opportunity for learning and growing.

Knowing the temperature of the atmosphere and people around you in an organization can only help you to be a better consultant.  You are investing time into discovering the inner workings of an organization so that you can tailor make a strategy that can help this specific business with these specific players.  It also helps you to effectively communicate what is going well or what is really lacking in an organization.

This should be an assessment, not a judgment.  You are working to identify strengths and weaknesses so that you can come up with a consulting strategy to properly execute the job that you were brought in to complete.  Use the strengths that you can, teach the weaknesses and give support, use the opportunity to grow, and identify and shut down the threats.  Don’t let the atmosphere of a business run you as a consultant, use that information to excel moving forward.

What has your experience been coming into a new organization? Do you think that doing a SWOT analysis on employees would be helpful to a consultant stepping into a new company? Could this be detrimental in any way? How? Let us know your thoughts, comment below!