A colleague is making me frustrated. She arrives without business cards at one meeting, with the "wrong" flash drive at another one, and often seems to not have the right contact information when we are on the road. How can I help her without it seeming like I am calling her professionalism into question?
You are not talking about professionalism as much as being prepared. The Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" reflects an attitude that, since you don't know what you will face, you need to be ready for everything.
A consultant is possibly more likely to face the unexpected than many other professions. Because our charge is to provide a wide range of services, we may not know in advance what those services will be on a given day. For that reason, we need to be more formalized in our "being prepared."
Make a list of everything you might need for a client or prospect visit. For example:
- Cell phone and/or iPad/eReader, fully charged
- Directions and/or map to your day's destinations
- Flash drive or storage device - with the right data for today's visit/trip and project data
- Your business activity projections and commitments for the near future (so you can make or change commitments in real time)
- Pens, markers, paper, post it notes, other office supplies needed for facilitation or presentation
- Laptop, fully charged
- Product or service samples
- Business cards
- Power cords and other peripherals, as needed
- Other items specific to your type of consulting discipline or industry
Create and refine this list regularly. Place it by your door, inside your suitcase, on your phone or by your desk. Refer to it every time you leave your office. Tip:
Give a copy of your list to your colleague as an example of something that helps you "be prepared" for your day. Ask them for comments or to share their list with you to see what you might have missed.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA