It was such a charming version of my everyday. Jet setting, scouting locations, long chunks of time simply waiting for the real work to begin. My favorite might have been the fancy dinners on another company's dime or the lack of roots required to do good work. When I read the recent "what a consultant does all day" article that circulated late last week I had to laugh. I knew it was describing the details of a young entry level employee of a high level consulting firm, and that of course the founder of said firm wasn't necessarily carving their time in the same way. Even so, while it made me laugh I also felt some degree of frustration that this was the version of consulting that was presented to those who many not appreciate what the work actually entails; particularly if done well. So, in case my clients, future and current, wonder how different the story looks I figured I would lay out my everyday.
After getting up to a house full of children and negotiating morning routine duties with my partner I get to my office and begin working my customer relationship pipeline. I make note of events within the industries we serve, edit some content for this blog, a column I co-write, or material for my monthly Insider newsletter and social media streams. I respond to requests for proposals, answer questions about training logistics, and at least three times per week serve on a variety committees related to my professional interests. I usually spend at least 1-3 hours a week managing material for various collaborative practice groups that I participate in or organize. I spend some amount of time each week learning skills relevant for my business and I spend some time each month teaching others something that will help them grow their business.
When I am not managing my CRM, I am planning and delivering learning material for my clients. I spend a few hours per week reading recent behavioral science research and mapping skills training to match relevant results that might help a client achieve their aims more effectively or efficiently. When I am not planning such learning opportunities I am delivering them to companies and agencies that are equipping their teams with skills to manage change, respond to conflict, or engage diversity within their system.
It isn't all reading and writing. My favorite aspect is when I can work even more closely with an organization to support leadership and staff engaged in big picture events. As a sounding board and strategist I listen for strengths and challenges that can be opened to provide options that may not have been obvious to those within the system. My goal isn't to develop a winning idea, it's to bring the space out that will allow the system to see the great idea that already exists within.
Most nights I end up back where it all started, and instead of dishing out advice I dish out something worthy of a young eater's complaints before baths, homework, stories, and last minute scrambles consume the evening. While my evening does occasionally involve dinner out with a client, it most usually has to do with some marquis event that I attend to celebrate their achievements. If there is a dinner, it's usually chicken, and since many are also fundraisers, I can't really say they happen on the company dime. I can say that I wouldn't change my version of a consultant "typical day" for the version the hot-shot recent college grad shared. I spend most of my time doing for clients, and that is what makes me keep showing up each and every day.
Loretta L.C. Brady, Ph.D., APA-CP is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor, Entrepreneur, and Diversity Columnist.
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Loretta L.C. Brady, Ph.D., APA-CP, 2011-2014