I didn’t really think much of the field of consulting or consultants themselves when I was in university. The idea that you need outsiders to come in and solve your problems was absurd. Surely the people who were working in the organization day in and day out were the best people to find solutions to the organizations problems. In those days, my perception about Consultants was not very high. I always believed that they came into an organization to point out the obvious. Then they wrapped the obvious in fancy reports and considered their job done. Whether these reports were used to solve real challenges or as future paper weights was in no way the responsibility of the consultant. Oh! Not to forget! They also wore formal business suits all the time. (Seriously, if I as a Consultant go to meet a client on a casual Friday, wouldn’t I feel overdressed in a suit while he/she wore jeans and a t-shirt)
Now that I am working as a consultant, has my opinion changed? Absolutely. Having had the chance to be in the field, look at the problems first hand and help solve them has given me a new perspective on what consultants do. Mind you, this may not be true for all consulting firms.
The Big Picture
Unlike me, my friends who went into various consulting firms all started behind the desk working on small fragments of the big problem but the never the problem itself. They had to ‘do their time’ as the saying goes. In most organizations, not just consulting ones, graduates and young people, in general, first need to gain experience and become ‘wise’ with age. While I do not disagree that one gains wisdom with experience, this is not a given (I can point to any number of public figures to prove my point).
The KINDUZ Factor
I am proud to say that I am part of an organization that thinks and works differently. In my first week at work, I was not in a training room but at a client location shadowing senior Consultants while they conducted project reviews. By then, I didn’t really understand the project details or the clients business domain. Despite my lack of experience and knowledge, at the end of each review, I was given the opportunity to present my thoughts to my team. The expected outcome being that
a) I could validate my understanding on the process
b) The Senior Consultants could see the entire process from a fresh set of eyes
When some of my questions were raised to the Client project owners, I was simply on cloud nine.
I am aware that young people, like me, without adequate work experience would never be put in front of a client. Nor would one discuss a problem with them end to end. This is one area where KINDUZ thinks and acts differently. For most companies, the very logic behind hiring a consultant is to have a fresh perspective towards a problem that they have not been able to solve themselves. I remember the parting words of a Client, I met for the first time, “I am counting on the fact that you do not have prior experience with my Organization to lead me to a new and innovative solutions.” This is why, KINDUZ allows freedom of thought and action (post logical approvals) to even the junior most people in the team.
The only limit to how fast you grow is your mindset
In the space of 5 months, I have gone from silently shadowing client meetings, trying to take in as many technical terms as I can, to actively participating in meetings, supported and encouraged by my seniors. While this may sound like a huge risk, the architecture of the organization is such that it pushes each one in the team through this steep learning curve (while ensuring that we have a safety rope tied firmly around our waist).
Intent is everything
Being in KINDUZ, I have realised that clients don’t respect Consultants for the number of grey hair that we have but for the solutions that we can bring on the table for their challenges. You might be thinking that this article is a case of trying to score some brownie points, but no. We don’t have performance appraisals or other fixed ‘climbing up the ladder’ mechanisms here. More on that in a separate article.
People, regardless of their age or experience are any organization’s greatest resource. So why not use all the people with all their perspectives and solutions to arrive at the best possible solution for a customer. P.S I am also a millennial, so I can confidently say that the more you challenge people like me, the more involved you will make us feel in the organization. The more you throw us in the deep end, the more likely we will stay loyal and deliver results that will pleasantly surprise you.