"Why do you do what you do?" is a question I have often asked over my recruiting and coaching career, to allow me to better understand the person more from a big picture perspective. One can never assume why someone likes it or how they got to that point in their career, and because of that, I love sharing stories of people in my network that inspire and show folks that there are many ways to reach the same goal - not all of them how you might assume! For my blog in 2021, I'm focusing on highlighting a variety of professions to share with folks out there who are either still figuring out their next step, or know what they're interested in, but could use a little external motivation!
My next spotlight is Danielle, a former coaching client I met virtually last year as she sought to make the leap away from systems engineering. She's sharing not only what her work as a Management Consultant encompasses, but also how she got there, how she made the transition, and some solid tips for those contemplating this type of work.
With that, here's what Danielle told me about her professional journey...
Describe what you do as a management consultant!
I partner with companies within various industries, solving complex problems working for a management consulting firm. Currently, I'm working with a global retailer, focusing on organizational transformation. Management consulting projects tend to be ambiguous, which affords you the opportunity to sense where there is a need and lean in. Ultimately, I believe my job is to work with a client to determine where they need help and do my best to ensure they succeed.
What do you enjoy most about this kind of work?
Being exposed to new people, systems, and industries. I appreciate the ability to gain perspective and learn continually!
Tell me about your career path to get here...
After 15 years at my previous employer as a systems engineer then a technical project manager, I realized I wasn't able to grow to the extent I wanted to. After much searching, I realized I kept coming back to consulting positions. Although I had never considered them previously, I felt it would provide me with the opportunity to make up for years at a single employer by providing the ability to interface with many industries in a short period of time.
How did you gain the skills to do the work? What helped you advance?
Experience as a systems engineer, accompanied with an industrial engineering background, has greatly helped my ability to look at a system or process and quickly synthesize how it works and where pain points might be.
That said, I believe soft skills such as practicing empathy and seeking to understand those around me are two of the most important skills to have as a management consultant. While I am still working on these, I believe industry experience and many years of being part of a team has helped me hone them to where they are today.
What advice would you offer to someone wanting to get into this line of work?
Approach each project with curiosity and the desire to truly understand the people, processes, and technology involved, before jumping in with solutions. Remember, your job as a consultant is to make those you are serving successful - focusing on that will drive your success!