Know When You are in Over Your Head – If you suspect that you need help, ask for it. Always try to refer the situation to someone who can deal with it most expediently. It is all right (in fact,it is preferred) to say you do not know but will get the answer.
Most consultants want to solve problems and be the hero. It is who we are. However, the best approach is to remember we are part of a team. While we would like to be experts in every facet of a project, we need to recognize each team member has individual strengths. By allowing each team member to focus in an area, they can develop their expertise more quickly and to a degree those who must know something about everything cannot achieve.
Some consultants advocate the hired gun model. Develop your own strengths as a specialist and hire out to anyone needing your particular skill set. This model does receive a healthy share of services. However, once the need exceeds the particular skill set the consultant is no longer relevant.
Providing the customer with a team of experts allows a stronger relationship with the customer. When a problem occurs the customer calls the team and the team sends the appropriate consultant. If multiple issues need to be dealt with, several team members can respond. The more the customer uses the team the stronger the trust and the more often the customer tends to rely on the team.
In addition, the team itself becomes stronger by working together. By jointly solving problems each team member is exposed to the expertise of others. To a degree, they will pick up new skills which relate most closely to their own skill set. If the need requires still other skills, they learn to recognize which team member can best resolve the need. Thus, the consultant can recognize many more opportunities and produce an exponentially greater number of new projects for the team.
In addition, the customer receives an enhanced benefit. With increasing knowledge of a customer’s operations, each project can build on prior projects to continuously make the customer more effective. The customer receives enhanced value with each new issue solved. In the same way, this results in the team becoming appreciably more valuable than the sum of its individual members’skills.