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#207: People Leverage

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009
AWhat are some ways to get some leverage on my time?

One way to get the leverage you are looking for is to use others to do some "leg work" for you. Depending on whether you are employed by a mid-sized to large form or an independent consultant, you may have to contend with two issues. The first is your attitude about your consulting practice. If you are with a mid-sized to large firm, you'll have less difficulty delegating and managing someone to help you. By virtue of your choice of being an independent consultant, however, you may have a harder time letting go of your time and tasks to someone else, even if intellectually you know it will leverage your time.

In either case, here's a model you can try. Hire a person that can learn some of what you do, someone who is bright but does not present him or herself her/himself as the expert but rather as the assistant to the expert. Start with diagnostic tasks, i.e., trying to figure out what the problem is at the client or prospect. Prepare a well thought out list of 37 questions that the research assistant (or whatever appropriate title you might choose) can ask. Send that person, instead of you, into a carefully defined upfront relationship to gather the data, meet the people, bring back files, reports, data, samples, etc. to save you the same one day or so on site and the travel back and forth. Then you do the analysis, the follow-up questions, the recommendations, the next meeting, etc. Once you have gotten this process worked out, documented the steps, and developed trust on a person to leverage your time on that task, you can move on to another task (or expand your group of trusted assistants).

Tip: Hiring an assistant or a service is only one approach to get leverage on your time. Of course, make sure both the assistant and client/prospect are carefully prepared. It is not worth trading your reputation just to leverage your time.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  engagement management  practice management  your consulting practice 

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