I am Generation X and I am getting tired. Getting tired of asking for permission to ask junior consultants to do work. Tired of the fear of offending their sensibilities. Tired of doing the thinking. Tired of trying to “charge them up, get them excited” about the work. Tired of pushing. Frankly, we need more Don Draper. Frankly, we need more trusting, mentoring, brutal honesty and hard work. Let’s hustle, win, and have fun.
1. Do the work. As simple as this sounds, too many younger consultants need to hear this again. Do the work. Think about the problem in front of you, explore ways to solve the problem. Structure it. Use different methodologies, tools, processes, including those mentioned on this blog.
- DMAIC for process improvement
- Maturity models to determine your current performance
- SIPOC to narrow the scope of a project
- Interviews with experts to short-cut to the answer
- Hypotheses to guess your way to the answer
- Industry research to get smart quickly
2. Yes, ask for clarification, but not the answers. As you are discovering your way to the answer, think about potential answers. Communicate and earn your credibility. Rely on your manager for wisdom, discernment, or decision-making. If you are asking them for information, or background research or something you could google, you are wasting people’s time. Make yourself invaluable.
3. Show initiative. Be able to research quickly and show judgment. People don’t give you detailed directions. Need to be a bit of a mind-reader. Don’t wait until called. Stand up, ask for work. Have an immigrant mind-set. Hustle wins the day 90% of the time. As Steve Jobs said (in a different context), be eager. Stay hungry.
4. Structure some ideas. Take very good notes. Read for relevant news. Provide an outline, something to react to. Don’t make me do all the thinking. Expand the scope of your work. Make it easy for me to say yes. Sell, sell, sell. Sell yourself and your ideas. Put yourself out there and win the idea fight club.
5. Meet me halfway. Do some of the work. Put it on paper. Start scoping it out. Write down the top 3 questions you want to ask me. Show rigor in your thought. If I am thinking about the problem more than you. . . we have a problem.
6. Don’t set up a meeting to talk more about it? Don’t regurgitate some files that I already have. I don’t need a manager. I am the manager.