Why is it that some consultants have a personality just made for some types of clients or types of consulting services?
Our personality often influences our choice to go into consulting, the industry or discipline in which we specialize, the type and size of firm with which we choose to affiliate and, in many cases, the types of clients we choose. We rarely think about how much our personality affects our approach to consulting and the way we interact with clients.
Consider how your personality influences:
- Your need for precision in your work
- Your tolerances for ambiguity and risk
- Your need to be in control of a consulting team
- Your decisiveness in problem solving
- Your relative preference for analytical vs. intuitive approaches
- Your desire for self improvement
- Your desire to "over serve" clients
- Your preference for frank vs. diplomatic communication
- Your ability to moderate stress
- Your collaboration style
- Your optimism in viewing the future, and
- Your compulsion for order vs. flexibility.
Talk with some you know well (and with whom you are comfortable) about each other's personalities and how they might constrain or enhance your consulting skills. Note those few traits that are strongest and which you feel you couldn't (or wouldn't want to) change. Do any of these prevent you from pursuing a type of client or serving them effectively? Is there a way to compensate for this constraint, maybe by taking on a partner whose personality complements yours, or are you OK with this constraint? What personality traits are the foundation of your success as a consultant? How can you build on these strengths? © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA