As a consulting manager, you’ve got three ways you can approach your job: be a sales partner and drive business, be a talent manager and hire/retain/train the best consultants, or be an operator and focus on process, measurement and delivery tasks. Most of us, in any job, do all three (sometimes in a single day) but most of us are usually best at one and tend to play to that strength. At times we have to prioritize one of these areas over the others because of some combination of external factors.
In my current job, the guys that report to me are really, really good in the sales cycle and pretty good operators so I spend a significant amount of time on talent recruiting, performance metrics and internal projects to improve productivity, efficiency and quality. In fact, I think its fair to say that I’ve spent the majority of my time in the last 2 years in this area. And, as a result, I’ve discovered something pretty important……none of it matters.
Don’t get me wrong – process and and a continual drive to improve are one of the hallmarks of excellence for a consulting team. But, despite that, three things are far more important:
Leads, sits and sales.
Let’s face it, folks: if you don’t sell, you don’t have anything to which your excellent processes can be applied. And, you can’t sell if you don’t get sits with a prospect. Of course, you don’t get sits if you don’t get leads that generate that sit. Ergo sequitur, the most important thing to a consultancy is leads, sits and sales.
So, if you have leads, sits and sales, keep on your approach. If not, drop everything and get deals closed. Pretty easy, no?