life as a consultant

Choose Your Words Carefully

Over the last decade, I have continually found myself intrigued by a field I never thought would interest me: linguistics. In particular, I’m fascinated by how linguistics intersects with psychology. The words you use profoundly impact how you think and behave. Here are a few examples. I often encounter clients who tell me there is [...]

The Burden of Leadership

Many people I speak to, from little kids to professionals in their 50s, want to be “in charge.” They want what they perceive to be the perks of being in a position of authority. What most don’t recognize is the BURDEN that comes with leadership. When there’s an uncertain environment, it is the leader that [...]

How a C Player Becomes an A Player

I recently wrote an article on How to Be a Corporate Superstar. In particular, I described how important it was to be an “A” player in your company. I received a number of follow up questions that I wanted to address, including the following: Question:  What would you suggest to help a C player grow into a [...]

The Skill of Extrapolation as a Consultant

One of the most vital skills a new consultant can have once they’re on the job is the skill of extrapolation. This involves taking some data from a client and extrapolating the data to determine some kind of trend line. In consulting, the data is rarely perfect and never complete. You are always missing something. [...]

The Importance of Career R&D

A product company like Apple invests heavily in research & development (R&D) to maintain its competitive advantage. One of the ways you can tell a CEO is managing for short-term results at the expense of long-term sustained success is when he or she cuts back on R&D investments. In the workforce, there are two kinds [...]

Written Communication as a Consultant

Question: I am wondering if you might have a reference for consulting-specific writing coaching. Since joining Booz and Company, I have been rated ‘high potential’ but am being told that I need to be more concise in my writing and speaking. I am in the somewhat unusual position of being an Engagement Manager-level hire with [...]

Elite Performance - What It Really Takes

Recently, I took my daughters into Seattle to watch the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team perform. They were in town as part of a 150-city post-Olympic tour across the U.S. It is the first time I’ve seen gymnastics at the world elite level in person. Even though the routines were nowhere near as difficult as [...]

Extreme Determination and Extreme Success

Growing up, I watched Michael Jordan play basketball. He was, with little argument, the best basketball player of all time. He was incredibly dominant — probably 5-6 standard deviations above the mean. Michael Jordan was in the news a lot when he turned 50 years old. There was an in-depth profile of his life and [...]

How to Get Promoted in Consulting Firms

There are three key secrets to getting promoted in a consulting firm. Here is one of them: “Do what is needed, not just what is asked.” In your first few weeks and months in consulting, you will typically be assigned tasks. This is just temporary to make sure those who interviewed you did not make [...]

How to Build a Strong Client Relationship

In an ideal world, executives would hire consultants to help their companies maximize their opportunities. However, we don’t live in an ideal world — we live in the real world. And one of the reasons consultants get hired is so the client can avoid getting fired. You might be wondering how this relates to you. [...]

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