Chameleons to Disruption: How Consultants Manage and Adapt to Change

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

…Mahatma Gandhi


Successful people work hard, plan well, minimize procrastination and act quickly. They set clear goals, read a lot to broaden their horizons and take (calculated) risks.  More importantly, they never stop learning. It improves their ability to devise strategy, innovate and manage their organization.  And ironically, in today’s ‘disruption-rich’ era, the moment you stop learning will be the exact moment you get disrupted.

Whether it’s via a bestselling management book, co-worker, podcast series or the barista at your favorite hipster coffee shop (we love brainstorming our next blog post over a cappuccino at Little Owl), successful people aren’t picky about where and how they learn.  And hopefully this is true for businesses, too.  Everyone wins in a culture of learning and development, so why not look to the Pros for insight and guidance?  After all, it’s these Pros (management consultants) who frequently encounter complex business conundrums, collaborate with disparate teams and ultimately take structured approaches to problem-solving and execution.

Objectivity.

Just like a movie with swooping wide-angle shots and detailed close-ups, every aspect of your life involves several different focal lengths.  It’s easy to get so focused, so close to a project or activity, that the big picture just evaporates.  And sometimes, objectivity goes along with it.

Inherent in their function, consultants work without bias, judgement and prejudice. Besides seeing problems from a different perspective than internal staff does, a good consulting team provides a fresh, objective viewpoint, then delivers results.

Collaboration without bias.

If you’re very lucky, your company is comprised of an eclectic mix of characters with equally varied backgrounds and areas of expertise.  If you’re unlucky, that diversity can make effective and profitable collaboration a challenge.   What do the Pros do?  Well, they’re trained chameleons to new environments. Consider that with each client, consultants will work with new teams comprised of people they’ve likely never worked with. They’ll have to work with many different leadership styles, personalities and teams in condensed periods of time.

Ultimately, the success of every project or engagement is dependent upon strong interpersonal collaboration. As a leader, you can replicate this by actively making others part of the conversation.  Walk around, ask questions, be interested, receptive and approachable.

Buy-in.

As tempting as it is to make decisions in a vacuum (it’s faster, easier and that’s why you get paid the big bucks), good luck getting your team on board after the fact.  Take a page out of the consultant playbook and get buy-in before and during the design and execution.   Of course, that’s part of their job, too.  It’s built in to their process.  It’s how they help guarantee their client’s success – and, frankly, why they use ThinkTank’s Digital Engagement System  as the catalyst for involvement, alignment and inclusivity that promotes cohesion of groups working together on a critical project or initiative. Stakeholders become so involved that the level of organizational buy-in of the final solution is authentic and adopted