I would like to write a book or column for my trade journal, but I know it takes a lot of time and effort and I'm not sure it is worth it. Is this a worthwhile investment or am I better off just delivering client services?
There are really two questions here. The first is whether there is value in the visibility of publishing and the answer is, to some extent, yes. There are still many people to whom author credentials signify expertise. If so and so wrote a book, they must be an expert (despite the fact that their book ranks 1,800,000th on Amazon). But it is not so much publication, per se, that is the underlying issue, which raises the second question.
Are you creating anything of value? We all read lots of articles or books on business or consulting and wonder to ourselves how many more times can we see the same content year after year (or decade). Is there really anything that some publisher won't put out? So, this brings us to where you can create some value with new ideas. These can be your detection of trends that are not obvious or creation of processes to tackle new challenges that (1) have not been described before, and (2) you have applied several times and can demonstrate that they are effective. Tip:
It is easy for consultants to spend all their time delivering services to clients. However, if you really want to demonstrate your expertise, spend at least one-half of your professional development and research time (which, in itself, should be about one-fourth of your time) creating new knowledge. Part of this can be to take a project you just completed and critically evaluating its effectiveness and refining the process to use next time. This deliberate, controlled creation of knowledge assets over time will provide both better client value but give you something you can really write about that no one else has seen before. Use these activities to build a library of knowledge assets. And, if you decide to publish this kind of unique content, you will get really smart and perceptive people to weigh in and help you to make it even better.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA