Want to Level Up as a Consultant? Learn from Others 

I have recently spent quite a bit of time watching people doing consulting work and getting advice from folks in the field. I did a project kick-off with Drew, Nick, and Kim. I also spent a bit of time with Tammy going over what it means to be a Delivery Lead and did a bit of job shadowing. Each one of my co-workers has a special set of talents that they use to consult. Observing them helped me understand how to think about leveling up as a consultant.


See their secret sauce.

My favorite part of watching other people do consulting work was seeing what made their style special. Drew and Nick were in meetings with a higher-up in a client’s organization recently. They leveraged a deep technical background and long-term strategic thinking to open up avenues for future project work and score Atomic political wins as well.

Tammy showed me the benefits of having deep knowledge of your own team. She can use the strengths and weaknesses of the team to delegate tasks, crush stories, and handle client relationships. Kim has an uncanny ability to run project kick-offs. This leads her to see past the problem presented to her to find the deeper problem that was causing pain, all while steering the conversation in productive ways.

Each brought different strengths and styles to their consulting work. When you’re able to watch someone work, you can see what differentiates them from others. While examining their strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to learn how to apply these to yourself.

Internalize the values.

I do not have deep technical knowledge, amazing project kick-off skills, or deep knowledge of a team to maximize value to the client. But what I can relate to from that group was the values that helped guide them to achieving their mastery.

Drew and Nick really showed deep transparency during their client meeting. They knew when to answer and when to pause and say, “Actually, I can’t answer that, but let me set a meeting up with you and some other people to further discuss that topic.”

Kim showed off deep compassion for users, wanting to make their lives easier. She really gives a shit about the quality of the product. That deep care informs the way she guides workshops and cuts through to the real problems.

Tammy really owns the process and the success of the project. She thinks of both the large things like client prioritization and the less tangible things like pair dynamics. She also pays attention to the political relationship in the client’s team and within her own team. Tammy shows such great responsibility for the project and understanding of the team that I think any maker would be lucky to have her as a team lead.

I truly feel lucky to have gotten to shadow and learn from this group of people. They embody Atomic’s values. And, they show what it means to see those values flourish in stride with talent, expertise, and skill. They also taught me a lot about the consulting process and showed me a path to level up.


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