Reader Comments

Political Strategist Suggestions

by Lawerence Callaway (2019-11-06)

womanNavigating the corridors of consultancy power can be exceedingly complicated. The prevailing corporate behavior of each organization differs, and you need to fit in yet stand out at the exact same time. And it's no good behaving like a chairman whenever you get your first major consulting role.

"Organizational politics" will be the unspoken process whereby some consultants achieve greatness, whilst others lust unproductively after power. In the event that you are unprepared to graduate within this obscure science, in which case you can forget the walnut paneling as well as the Rolls Royce; they will never be your natural environment. You would in most probability be unhappy and insecure if you did achieve such power. Without the qualification or perhaps the desire, you could be much more suited to a far more modest consulting position in which you could use your talents and not be worried about the "politics".

Appointing a top consultant or possibly a "core consultant" is a most sensitive decision, yet few organizations consistently operate a thoroughly efficient procedure for "growing" their own senior consultants. The advantage of promoting consultants from within is recognized by behavioral analysts and business schools, but people in power within client organizations may tend to resist internal consultancy appointments which could bring change. Ostensibly there to serve the shareholders' interests, some company directors are primarily concerned with continuing to be company directors. Hence the furious desperation with which some takeover bids, clearly in the shareholders' interest, are opposed. Reluctant to relinquish power, such opponents are unlikely voluntarily to help an advocate of change, especially whenever they may suffer personally as a result.

As an aspiring senior consultant, as a result, you must present such those with a clear find effective political message. On the one hand, they must see you as a way to keep their power, but on the other they must realize you are no threat to them. In certain organizations, there can be a consulting streaming process intended to identify talented consultants and expose them to a breadth of experience appropriate to a profession in the upper levels of consulting. Membership of this "elite" gives you no immunity from politics; rather it exposes you to more. For not just will you experience the "acceptability barrier" with each step-up the consulting ladder but you shall also be competing with others of similar ambition. So you need to know the culture of your client's organization as well as the effect it has on those around you - especially those in positions of power. But do not conclude that successful politics alone will bring you success - top consultants are political nevertheless they also deliver.

You should see your route to the very best like branches of the consulting tree. You should be aware which directions will lead to a dead end and you should be aware which department or team are climbing up the trunk of your client's organization. Always work with successful teams. Operating in departments with problems, may make it easier that you should justify your existence to begin with, but you will struggle to genuinely achieve anything. Working with successful departments may be more of a challenge to start with, but you may have far more probability of success with ultimately a lot less effort, because you will be adding value.

Make sure that you have a clear vision of how far you should climb and which route you may need to take as a way to get to where you want to be. Like any journey, this route may change while you are on the move, but you should continually be aware of your options. Is all of this effort worthwhile you might ask? Well the best strategy consultant should be earning at least $1m USD annually if they are operating independently. Strategy consultants operating in a core capacity will earn at least double this amount.