A Vice President at a rapidly growing telecommunications company, explains it this way: “We have had excellent results from our consultants in part because of their knowledge, but mostly because of our ability to communicate our requirements to them and their ability to understand and communicate back to us what they can do to meet those requirements.”
The ability to work with others was the second most important consulting characteristic, having been selected by 45% of the respondents. This was not surprising since the ability to work with others and good communication skills go hand in hand. What was surprising was that these two characteristics far outranked the third most important consulting characteristic: experience. Seems that in this challenging time, interpersonal and social skills have become every bit as important if not more so than technical skills and experience.
The same VP noted, “Good communications and the ability to work with others are essential to the success of almost every position in an organization. Both are essential characteristics that you find in outstanding consultants who complete jobs and improve a company’s productivity. Just possessing the appropriate knowledge and experience is no longer adequate enough. This is quite a departure from the 80’s and early 90’s where social and interpersonal skills were hardly given any consideration in the selection of consultants.
Hum? ..but mostly because of the consultants ability to understand and communicate back to the client what can be done to deliver what the client has asked for.”
The consultants most in demand are those who are skilled listeners, speakers, and team players. For businesses to survive and to thrive, they are looking for consultants who can play more of a coordinating and leadership role. Consultants have become much more than just ‘brains for hire.