Thursday, July 24, 2014

Starting the new assignment

As a consultant (telecoms in my case) every new contract was like starting a new job: it gets better with practice. Here are my top three super-hints for doing it right.

1. Be a 'yes' person

Tom Wolfe in 'Bonfire of the Vanities' reminded us of the 'favour bank'. This is the informal register of favours done vs received. It's essential to build your credit when newly in position .. so show willing. Success and effectiveness go to the friendly and cooperative.

Effective consultants know this.

2. Suck it up

Most people are idiots aren't they. Self-important, opinionated, biased, short-termist, incapable of seeing the obvious, blind to detail .. just plain wrong.

Most of these people are your colleagues and some are your superiors (obviously only in a bureaucratic, hierarchical sense). Still, they seem to have uncanny antennae for the partly-suppressed sneer of contempt.

It's helpful if you can think of them as clients who cannot be wrong .. but may need friendly and diplomatic assistance in seeing things exactly correctly.

3. The first week is the worst

Day one you know nothing and no one. My first priority was to draw up a chart showing everyone I had to deal with, detailing their role and place in the organisation chart.

Next I would note each person's location, mobile phone and email address .. making sure to capture this in Contacts on my laptop/mobile.

Then I would get copies of all relevant documents so I had an idea of what was expected.

Good to go!