Keeping up with technology is tough. It’s a constantly evolving battle where even the solid ground under your feet can shift at any time. The pace of change is accelerating, and IT consultants who can’t keep up will not have a viable skill set to continue in consulting.
Are you ready for the bad news? Keeping up with the technology is the easy part of IT Consulting. The tough part is mastering the soft skills required to survive as an IT consultant. You don’t believe me?
- Did you know that most projects do not fail because of technical issues?
- Do you think that you can keep on top of all relevant technical changes which are occurring on a daily basis across multiple technical areas?
- Did you know that most of your value to a consulting organization is directly related to the success or failure of your last three client engagements?
In IT we focus a lot on developing technical skills but we tend to overlook the soft skills required for success. In consulting we tend to leave this to more of an “on the job” skill set to develop. As a community, we share lessons learned on a daily basis and the community helps to fill in gaps in documentation and functionality in the products that they work in. I believe that it is time to start the same community effort around the soft skills required for consulting. This is a belief that I have held for years and I have been working on sharing what lessons I have learned in soft skills alongside the skills that I have learned in technology.
Last week I was given a unique opportunity talk about IT Consulting soft skills with the crew at InsidePodcastNetwork (http://ipn.tv). Dan and Christian took their skillingup podcast series and decided to shift away from technical skills for a bit and talk more about the soft skills in consulting. This is an area of huge interest to me, so I was glad to get the invitation to join this discussion. We discussed five topics during this podcast:
1. Dressing and acting the part
2. Your social exposure – Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn
3. How to gain efficiencies
4. What sets people apart
5. Who do you hire and why – what do you look at as a good candidate
The podcast is currently available on iTunes as part of the “Inside Podcast Network”, and will be available on the InsidePodcastNetwork website as part of the skilling-up series.
Next month we plan to discuss five more in about a month as we continue this portion of the podcast series.
- What is the most important lesson that you have learned in your time as a consultant?
- Do you have any questions about consulting that you have wanted to ask?
- Have you ever been in a client situation where you wonder if there was a better way to have handled what happened?
Post your insights and questions and maybe we’ll talk about them on an upcoming podcast or as part of a new technical magazine that several of us are preparing to work on!
Update: For quick reference to any material I have worked on related to it consulting see: On Consulting and Soft Skills