Are we entering the Golden Age of Consulting? Yes or no.

November 10, 2010 · 2 comments

in Thrive in tough times,For Coaches & Consultants

I’m discussing this with another veteran consultant, Janet Tokerud, and also on a LinkedIn forum. I’d like to hear your 2 cents. Here are a few factors:

YES

1. Companies can’t keep up with the firehose of change. Many have downsized their expertise, knowledge, and wisdom. They have to rely on outside consultants. We are the only ones with the mandate to stay on top of change, and the only ones who get paid enough to make this feasible.

2. We traffic in ideas and solutions and information. These are constructed of data and numbers and words. Thus the internet is the ideal medium for us. It connects us with each other anywhere in the world, as is happening on this forum this instant. We can communicate and publish with no middleman or gatekeeper. Internet forums like this provide the nexus for us to flourish and to provide value.

NO

1. Economic volatility puts us at the end of the tiger’s tail, where we are thrashed back and forth unpredictably. For example, my clients are small professional businesses that serve larger corporations that engage in the global market. When the markets hiccup, the corporations shudder, my clients can have a heart attack, and I can get dashed on the rocks. Where is the stability for us to get ahead?

2. Every year, more and more lucrative consulting tasks are outsourced across the world or programmed into an app. What will be left for us to do?

3. We lack the resources to innovate to keep up with the big players. We’re doomed to fall behind and slide into irrelevance, to be overtaken by the next newly-minted generation of PhDs and quants.

What’s your take on the outlook for independent knowledge professionals such as consultants?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Roberta Guise November 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I believe the answer is Yes, No, and It Depends.

An individual consultant’s success rides on a plethora of external factors: economic trends in a particular industry; market segment or segments you serve; individual company strategy within those segments; owner or CEO philosophy of client companies; culture of risk and innovation or culture of play-it-safe; and target clients that are market leaders or market followers.

As with most things in life, it’s best to put one’s energy into opportunities and possibilities. Proactive focus like this will hedge against most of what otherwise could trip you up.

Reply

mvh November 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Yes, I agree with what you say, Roberta. Yet there’s a difference in scale at work here. My post was more like, “A rising tide raises all ships,” and you replied, “Where you are within the ripples of the tide can still swamp you or allow you to surf even faster.” Both things are true.

But many consultants these days are seeing only the downside it seems. They feel the tide is out and they are stranded on the mud flats. I wanted to counter that pessimism, because it’s self-fulfilling.

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