Career Journey of A Consultant Rockstar featuring Ron

 

In this Where are They Now? episode, Christie interviews Ron, a former consulting colleague with the brand of a rockstar. Ron discusses a myriad of topics, shares stories of his career journey, managing resistance, the differences in federal vs commercial consulting, how to choose between becoming an independent consultant, working at mid-tier boutique, or for a large Big 4 consulting firm. Christie and Ron also gives advice to a newbie consultant facing peer pressure drinking on his engagement.

Listen to the Episode Here:

We will be doing a segment that I call Where Are They Now? For those that are new to the show, this is when I have the upmost honor to reconnect with a former colleague that I enjoyed working with and this individual had a brand of a rock star while we work together. For this career dilemma, I had one of my mentees reached out seeking help because they’re part of our project team that is drinking heavily and wanted some help figuring out how to manage that dynamic. I’m going to ask our guest to weigh in on that. With that, I have the opportunity and pleasure to connect with Ron. Ron, thank you so much for making time to connect with me.

Thank you for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

I’m super excited to chat with you. There are many years that flew by since we last connected. Before we get started, can you give everyone a quick introduction of your background, who you are, what your background is, and share a little bit about what you did when you were in consulting?

My background is very diverse. Upon graduating college, I started working for a mid-tier consulting firm. I started as a management analyst and working specifically on PeopleSoft and Oracle implementations in the finance arena and the HR arena. I worked with that company for about three years and then I moved over to one of the Big Four consulting firms. At that firm, I was in the learning and talent development practice where I worked as a consultant who dealt specifically with learning and talent development. I would go into an organization on a project team to develop training materials and not only deliver training courses, but also work one on one with certain individuals within the organization to allow them to understand a new business process or system process that was being put in place. I worked that in that particular arena for quite a few years. After leaving that big consulting firm, I went to two other additional Big Four consulting firms where I did somewhat of the same thing and then moved over into the arena of project management.

In that particular role as a project manager, I managed huge ERP implementations to ensure that a client was getting the best value for the implementation that was being put in place. I did everything from managing resources, managing schedules, managing budgets, interaction with executives to ensure that the project team that was on the ground was doing everything that they needed to do. After a few years of doing that with those other Big Four consulting firms, I went independent and started to do more project management work in the learning and talent development space in particular to help organizations implement training programs so that their employees would be able to adapt to the change that was being implemented at their organization. Today, I’m back with a boutique consulting firm as a director in their enterprise architecture practice doing project management work, specifically around architecture projects or any type of enterprise that can be in revamp or implemented at a particular organization.

I didn’t realize you’ve done much since we last connected. I didn’t realize that you had done all of that after because I know when we were working together it was in your Big Four journey. I didn’t realize it’s been so long. Congratulations on your director role and being able to go full circle.

It’s been a journey over the last six, seven years and I’ve worked in so many different capacities and aspects that I’ve grown my skill set in so many areas that I’m in a role that I enjoy 100%.

I think about your journey going from a mid-tier boutique firm, going and having experiences at different Big Fours then pivoting, spending some time as an independent consultant and then going back to mid-tier, can you give our audience what will be the differences between the mid-tier firm experience versus your Big Four versus independent consulting? If someone was thinking about this as a career, what would you give them as things to make that decision between the three paths?

I would say that the major difference for me that I’ve experienced is that working for a mid-tier firm you’re definitely more of an entrepreneur. You have to have that entrepreneur mindset because you’re on your own. You have to figure out organizations. You have to figure out how to navigate through them and you don’t have the support or mentorship from someone who’s there to guide you through the process. You have to figure out how to navigate through those mid-tier firms and how to be successful there. Whereas at a Big Four firm, you not only have mentorship place, when I say mentorship meaning someone who’s at a higher level than you, someone who’s on your same peer mentor and then someone who is at a lower level where you’re a mentor to them, but you also learn from them as they grow through the organization.

You also do not have the learning that’s available to you, the trainings that are available to you at a mid-tier firm versus a Big Four firm. The support that you get at a Big Four firm with the individuals who surround you, I’ll almost say it’s almost level of protection where my experience at Big Four, if I made a mistake, there was someone there to not only protect me from a lot of the ramifications that could come from that, but they were also there to teach me as in how I need it to move forward to ensure I don’t make that mistake again. At mid-tier, that’s not necessarily the case. If you mess up, it’s on you and you have to figure out how to get out of that situation and ensure that it does not happen again.

What about for independent? I’m assuming like mid-tier.

It’s similar to mid-tier but as an independent consultant, everything’s on you. You don’t report to anyone. You have to go into these projects and organizations and figure everything out. You are the face of the company that you work for which is yourself and you have to be the CEO, the CFO, the CIO, the Director, the Manager, HR Representative and everyone. You have to figure it out all on your own. You have to be confident in who you are in every aspect of what you do in order to be successful. If there’s one area where you’re lacking, you have to go out and find your own mentors to assist you in being successful, being an independent consultant. I would say it’s one of the more difficult areas to accomplish, but if you are trained effectively like I was from Big Four, then you’ll be fine in that arena. Definitely, all of the onus is on you to be successful as an independent consultant. For a lot of individuals it works out great and for others, not so much.

Of the three, if someone was thinking about one versus the other, if I sum up what I hear you’re saying, for someone interested in consulting, if they want a lot of support, it sounds like that Big Four type of environment is good because it has that infrastructure. The mid-tier sounds like you have a little bit more flexibility with the entrepreneurial feel to it versus independent where it’s probably best for someone who’s got a seasoned background already, and they don’t need a lot of that infrastructure support. Is that a fair summary?

That is a 100% correct assessment.

With that, I wanted to talk through a couple of moments. I wanted to go down memory lane with you, Ron, given it’s so long. I’m going to kick off memory lane and I’m going to tell the listeners how much people love Ron. When I worked with Ron, everyone loved him. He was doing so much and I hope you were having fun, Ron. I know for me it was a pleasure working with you. Us working and navigating challenges and trying to figure things out, I really enjoyed working with you.

I definitely enjoyed working with you as well. Whether you know it or not, you were one of my driving forces to do well in Big Four consulting. Christie, everyone was not only a mentor but also a friend and she held me accountable for quite a few things. Christie was very instrumental in ensuring that I had the skills that I needed in order to be successful at Big Four and I still think about all of the tools, the different words of encouragement and plans that she and I somewhat put in place in order to help me be successful in Big Four. I’ve taken those tools and have applied them not only to my independent consulting skills but also working for a mid-tier firm. I’ve been successful and I can think about Christie and I meeting on Friday evenings at the work and we’d go put a plan in place as to, “Ron, these are some areas where you need to improve upon and this is how you should do it,” and it will be a back and forth dialogue and it was a great experience. Christie is part of the foundation of builders that helped me get to where I am today. I want to personally thank you for that, Christie.

We had a lot of long nights working through stuff. We were so determined, Ron. We were on fire. We were like, “We’re going to make this work, we’re going to do this stuff and we’re going to be fly doing it.” Thank you for that acknowledgement and I’m happy and it means a lot to me that I helped you in that way. Let’s talk about a couple of moments. If you think about the time when we were working together, even if it’s not a project you and I worked on, I know we’ve done a couple of them together, what were some of your favorite moments working and consulting in general? What would be one you want to share?

One is the people I’ve met. Those intelligent and driven individuals from different backgrounds, different races, and different experience levels that they’ve had. I would say that people is probably one of the more memorable aspects of working in consulting because they not only encourage you but they also gave you the drive because you will be some of the great, wonderful things that they were doing. You will want to achieve some of those aspects in your career that they were doing. They were very supportive in everything that you were doing. If you needed help, you could always reach out to the individuals who were around you. If they were available, they would definitely lend a helping hand. That was definitely one of the more memorable experiences for me.

Sometimes I feel like the reason that I continue to stay in consulting is because it’s where else am I going to find this incubator of amazing, brilliant people? I agree with you on that. Maybe you can share one of your more challenging moments. What was the challenging moment and how did you overcome the obstacles that you faced?

When Christie and I worked for Big Four consulting firm, I would say one of the challenges I had was that I worked in the federal practice. I wanted to make the transition over to the commercial practice. I was given the opportunity to move over to the commercial practice and work on some projects over there. There was a learning curve because the federal practice, the client had a different methodology and a different way of thinking about things versus those in commercial practices. In the commercial practice, I’ll give you an example, there were timelines and deadlines that were set and there was no flexibility there. You were expected to hit the ground running on day one to be sharp from day one through the end of the project. You were expected to know more then what you came into that particular project, knowing you were supposed to know everyone on your team. You were supposed to be an expert in the area that you were hired on the project to perform particular tasks, etc. It was challenging because I came from a practice that was a little bit more lenient in certain areas and not necessarily the business aspect, but the clients. The clients thought differently. When I was in the commercial practice, I had to get up to speed quickly, understand how the organization’s brand as far as culturally is concerned. It was very challenging and ensuring that I was number one that I was on top of my game. That I knew what I was supposed to do, that I was two to three steps ahead of the client who I was working for at that time.

Being able to report back not only to my direct supervisor, but the individuals who were in that practice, who had a stake from the business side of the house as to how to be successful there and the progress that I was making. It was challenging and it was one that I knew I had to step up and do what I needed to do in order to be successful there. I had a great team around me of mentors and peer mentors who were there to support me and those who are on the account and those who were not on the account to help me become successful. I would say the most challenging part of consulting I could think of was making that move from the federal space over into the commercial space and then being successful because I was around a group of people who I did not know. In the federal practice, we had a few thousand practitioners there, but I knew most of them. It was pretty easy to navigate the federal practice to a certain extent, whereas when I joined the commercial practice, I was in a different setting and I had to rise to the occasion.

MECE 12 | Rockstar Consultant
Rockstar Consultant: The most challenging part of consulting was making that move from the federal space over into the commercial space and then being successful.

When you talk about that challenging moment and you talked about that federal to commercial, that’s real. Just hearing your story reminds me of that. I did a different pivot if you recall. I came from commercial practice, then I ended up spending several years in the federal practice, then I ended up leaving and going back into commercial. There were these extremely distinct differences and it’s important for people to understand. Because it sounds like you and I both lived both sides of the fence, I may do an episode just on that. Thank you for teasing that out and sharing that. You talked about your favorite, talked about your challenging, if you could share with the audience what was your most awkward moment in consulting?

My most awkward moment was when I was working for Big Four again at the same firm with Christie. They had a retreat and it was everyone at the consultant level and everyone at the senior consultant level. They took us on a retreat down to Orlando, Florida. What we were doing there was that we were getting to know our colleagues within the particular practice that we’re in at the firm. They had us do quite a few things from business cases to presenting in front of the executives to presenting in front of our peers to giving us awkward situations where you need to find out how to get out of this awkward situation as related to not only the client side but at an organization even in your personal life, etc. I was a part of a team of individuals. There are eight people on the team and we were given a case study that we needed to solve and it was one of the case studies about Blockbuster and how Blockbuster was a brick and mortar store and the world around Blockbuster was changing.

Blockbuster had to adapt to the new world with Netflix and some of the other online streaming channels that were out there. Our case study was to go in and figure out how to help Blockbuster assimilate to the new structure that was happening in the world that we live in of technology. I was chosen out of the group to go and present our case study to a team of executives. It was awkward because there were so many other individuals who were on the team who were more outspoken, who seem to be more interested in what was going on and who knew how to answer any question that was thrown at them.

These individuals consisted of someone who was a lawyer by trade and someone who had gotten an MBA from an Ivy League University. Out of everyone there, they chose me to present to the executive. It was very awkward to me. I had a little bit of confidence, I know I can speak well. I can be charming at times, but I didn’t put forth those qualities while we were doing this case study. I didn’t think that I would be the person who will be put up to present in front of these executives. I said, “It’s okay, I’ll do it. Not problem,” so I went and presented in front of these executives, and they gave feedback which was pretty positive, put that back to my team.

Long story short, at the end of the retreat they had an award ceremony. One of the directors out of the New York practice stated that they wanted to honor an individual who they thought was very articulate, who presented his ideas in a very factual order and was able to answer any question that was thrown at him without hesitation. That person was me. Out of the 5,000 consultants who were there at this retreat, I was chosen by the executive leadership staff as the consultant who met those qualifications that they had in place. It was very awkward for me because these are individuals who I did not know, had no prior relationship with them, and they chose me. It was a very awkward because I couldn’t believe it number one but on the other end, I was honored because I didn’t think I would be in that position and I was.

Remember when I said that everyone loves Ron? Thank you for that example because you crystallized it. I’m not surprised that you got that honor. It’s probably they saw something in you at that time that you didn’t see in yourself. You just shined.

Thank you.

I can definitely see when you’re saying that, if you don’t know folks and then you’re getting that. I can definitely see where havoc can put you in an almost embarrassing type of moment, putting you on the spot but you did good, which is great. With that one last moment, if you could share one of your most crazy moments? If you think about over the years, what was a crazy moment that you had? That’s not travel because I know we all have some crazy travel stories, a moment that’s not travel that was crazy.

When I was working at Atlanta, Georgia at a large healthcare organization and I was training. I was training this group of individuals on how to utilize this new system that was being put in place at the organization. I was ahead of the group that I was training was diverse, meaning they were of different ages, different educational background, multi-cultural group of individuals. When you have these types of individuals, you have to be careful in how you present the material. I was presenting the material as best as I could, based on the demographic of the individuals who were in the room. There was a guy named Bill who was in the class and he was an older guy maybe in his early to mid-70s.

He had been in his particular role at the organization for probably 40 years. This was a new system that was being put in place. I guess Bill wasn’t interested in learning the new system. He had been doing his job well for many years and hadn’t had too many complaints here and there. He was preparing to retire in the next couple of years and he would always question, “Why am I in this training room? Why am I in this training class?” I would explain to him that, “Bill, the new system is being put in place and with this new system being put in place, your job’s going to change quite a bit. Everything is going to have to be online entry versus the paper entry that you all had been performing in the past.”

One day, I’m in the class and I’m going through a particular module within the new system and all of a sudden I see Bill reach into his ears. He takes out his hearing aids and he puts them on the desk in front of him. At that point, you say to yourself, “What do you do?” Do you have the class take a break and you go speak to Bill one on one? Do you go tell Bill’s supervisor what is going on, but it makes you question your technique of relaying information to the individuals in the class. I just decided I’m going to continue, go ahead and finish this particular topic that I’m on and then after that I’ll go have a conversation with Bill. After I got done with that topic, I dismissed the class on a short break.

While the class was on break, I went over to Bill and I said, “Bill, let me speak to you for a second.” I waved him over to me. He picked his hearing aids up and he put them in. I said, “Bill, are you okay? Are you comprehending everything that I’m relaying to the class? Are you comfortable? Is there anything I can do to help you retain the information more, etc?” Bill told me without blinking an eye or cracking a smile, “I am not interested in what you are teaching and I do not have to learn it.” I was shocked and I said, “Bill, I know that this is maybe a little bit difficult for you to understand, but what we can do is that I will schedule some one–on-one sessions with you so that we can discuss the training.” Bill just threw his hands up and walked out the door.

At this point I say, “How do I deal with this?” This is a disruption to the class. When I sat down behind the desk that I was presenting from and reflected on how I can get this guy engaged because I never had this happen to me before. Normally the older individuals are the ones who want to know what’s going on so they can keep their jobs. I’m thinking, thinking, thinking, so just I left it alone. The class came back and before I began to teach I decided I’m going to pair the individuals up in the class two on two in order to ensure that everyone comprehends appropriately. Someone who I felt was a little bit more advanced than someone who may be was having a little challenge in the course, I decided to pair them aside.

I paired Bill up with a young lady in the course who knew her job, was very interested in what was going on, who was able to get through the system fast and answer all questions that were being presented. I paired them up and then Bill asked me, right there in front of everybody. He said, “Why do you pair me up with this girl? She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.” I said, “Bill, we only have five days for this course. We’re at day three right now. There are some individuals who are not picking up on the information as fast as the other.” At that point Bill took his hearing aids out again, got up and walked out the classroom.

At that point, I didn’t know what to do. I was blown away and didn’t know what to do. I continued to teach the class. Once class is over for that day, I went in, tried to find Bill and tell him I’m here to help. “I can help you this way there.” Bill didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t care. He finally told me, “I’m retiring in the next couple of years. This stuff doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not going to do it,” and he just rant and rave and everything else about what was going on. Apparently, he went and told his supervisor that I wasn’t honing in on his needs so that he will be able to learn in class. Therefore, he wasn’t attending the course anymore. I had a conversation with his supervisor and told him what had went on and how I am doing my best to try to help Bill. Bill wasn’t willing to meet me halfway. She told me she was going to have a talk with Bill.

The next day Bill came back to class and Bill was very disruptive this day. He was singing, he was doing everything to disrupt at all costs. At that point, I stopped the course. I went and spoke with his supervisor and his supervisor came and got Bill and took him away and then I was able to finish the class. That was one of the strangest situations that I have been in my career. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. Having someone who was of age and who wasn’t going to learn what was being presented to him. At the end, it was more around he didn’t understand why the organization was changing at this point in time and he had been doing his job the right way for 30 plus years. Now things are changing I think he was not only scared, but he was at being able to retire and receive all the benefits that he was supposed to. He decided to have his own little rebellion and whatever happened to Bill I’m not 100% sure. It was definitely one of the strangest things that I’ve experienced in my entire career.

I’ve never had anything like that happen. We both are in the business of change. When consultants are brought in, we’re usually brought in to shake things up and help an organization get to the next level. You bring up a good point out. All jokes aside about what kind of tactics he’s using, managing resistance and helping clients, and helping their employees along the journey is so critical to the work we do. I’m truly biased. I’m a change management person, that’s the way I think. I think about when I hear you say that and I hear him not completely breaking down like that. It goes to show how important it is to bring people along and it’s not about putting in a system.

It’s not about saving money or cutting costs or whatever it is that we’re in the business of doing. We’re also in the business of helping you humans in being empathetic and helping people through that. I give you kudos. You handled it with grace and professionalism the best that you could given the circumstances, but that’s a really challenging type of experience, especially with what you had to do. Going through that experience, how do you think that has helped you in other areas of your life? When you think about how he puts you on the spot, you had to respond, how do you think that’s helped you moving forward?

It’s helped out quite a bit. Number one, around conflict management and number two, around being able to perform in a high stress environment. It helped me to be more cognizant of the client who I do work for. Cognizant of the people who work for them and how their job are going to change, has also helped me with being more empathetic to individuals, especially aging individuals as well as millennials. Millennials from my experience are not on the same page as those of us who are Generation X or even the baby boomers. It has allowed me to try to come up with creative ways in order to solve situations and how to meet challenges that you’re facing.

That’s in my personal life as well as in my business life. It’s helped to think about others as well when you’re thinking about yourself. Sometimes we can think about how a situation is going to affect us and that our feelings are nine times out of ten the only one that matter. It allowed me to think about how others, what their feelings are and how they react to certain situations. It helps me to be a little bit more empathetic and sympathetic to some of the issues that go on in my personal life, the world we live in and in the business world that I work in.

You’ve brought many different elements. I’ve been writing them down and I feel like the millennials in the workplace, that is an episode all on itself. Managing resistance and how do you deal with awkward client conflicts. That’s a spinoff of something that I can think about doing. This really had a lot of texture to it. I appreciate your candid responses to the questions. One last question before I pivot to the career dilemma that I wanted your help with is think about it now. You started in consulting. You started as an analyst. Had different twists and turns, you’re now in an executive leadership role, which is great. What advice would you give your younger self knowing what you know now?

I would say the one tip, words of wisdom or advice that I would give my younger self is to not get discouraged, to continue to strive for excellence and to know that you are capable of doing anything that you put your mind to.

I mentioned that I do have an email from one of my current mentees that has a situation. Ron, would help me give him some advice?

Definitely.

Let me read the email to you. This email is from Jackson. I haven’t spoken to Jackson in about over a year, but it was good to hear from him. Jackson writes, “Christie, thank you for the book recommendations. They were very helpful. I’ve been placed on a project with four other men and things for the most part have been cool. Sometimes it gets a little bro-ey and it’s like I’m back in college at a frat party. My team gets together about two nights a week and gets completely wasted. The first two weeks on the project it was okay but now it’s getting old. I don’t want to drink that often.

I tried to casually make excuses to not join the drinking binges, but my manager clears my plate or pushes out deadlines to ensure that I can participate. I’ve gotten called out or teased a couple of times about trying to bail so I stick around and deal with it. I’m on this project for at least three more months with a possible extension. As highly visible engagement in my practice, I don’t want to make a fuss about it but I also don’t want to drink that heavily. How can I bow out of the team drinking while not impacting my team’s impression of me or burning bridges in my practice?” I’ve never been in a situation in that way. Ron, when you hear this, what are some of the things that come to mind on advice you would give to Jackson in this situation?

I have a situation where I was in that same predicament. It was the first project that I worked on in my consulting career. I was the youngest on the team. I was 22 at the time and the other gentleman on the project were 40 plus. They liked having me around because I knew where the girls were. I knew all the hangout spots. I knew where the party was and that’s what they wanted to do while they were away from home on this particular project. I was pressured into drinking quite a bit of alcohol and not only after the work day but also during lunch. They will make sure that I went to lunch with them and we’ll have a couple of cocktails or a couple of bottles of wine. We would all go to dinner together. At dinner, we would have bottles of wine and a few cocktails there.

MECE 12 | Rockstar Consultant
Rockstar Consultant: Sometimes we as seasoned consultants need a refresher as to how to continue to be successful and how to avoid some pitfalls.

Then we’ll go to either a wine bar, some type of dive bar, a regular bar or club after we leave dinner at night and continue to drinking. We would have tabs in the thousands of dollars and I’m talking about this was taking place three to four nights a week depending on what our deadlines were and how long we needed to be at the client site that particular week. I was fresh out of college. I was used to drinking heavily, used to partying all night long. What happened to me was that I would tend to oversleep. Instead of getting to the office at 8:00 with everyone else, I will get there between 9:00, 9:30. That was not a problem to them, but it was a problem to me because I wasn’t there at the office when everybody else was arriving and I couldn’t basically handle my liquor intake.

One of the things that I started to do is that when it was time to drink and the managing director would order drinks, I would sip very slowly on the drink that I was having. Oftentimes, I will go and dump the drink down the toilet in the restroom or down the sink in the restroom and then I will go back to the bar and I would ask the bartender to give me water but in the glass that I would drink the alcohol out of. What that did is that I had individuals thinking that I was drinking with them but I wasn’t. I was consuming water. It’s a very slippery slope because it’s something that these seasoned consultants are used to and you’re not necessarily used to that and you’re not comfortable telling them no.

I’ll be honest and blunt with you if you tell them no, it may turn around to backfire on you when it’s time for performance reviews and some of those. Sometimes those things can get a little personal. I will suggest that you limit your alcohol intake and you have to come up with creative measures in order to do that. I would suggest that you do that, and also being able to associate with your colleagues. It depends on a couple of things and the advice that I gave, I would utilize that. You can’t be candid with those individuals and say, “I’m not drinking,” and you feel that it’s going to affect your performance review, rating or how individuals are going to look at you whether they’re going to like you or not. You have to be careful as to how you handle the situation. That’s one way I would do it.

If you are confident in yourself and you feel that they will respect your will to not drink and tell them that when you feel that it’s not going to harm you, then I would go with that approach. It seems to me that you feel that they do things to try to encourage you to continue to drink and I’m going to suggest you’re going to have to be creative in how you get around that. Being that you’re still young in the field of consulting, it’ll be a learning experience and it will be something, as you continue to grow in your career, you’ll learn how to manage the drinking aspect of the job more carefully. I’ll say that in consulting from a man’s standpoint, it’s something that we all do and I’ve done it myself. I’ve pressured individuals into drinking as well. It’s a slippery slope, but you have to try to stay one or two steps ahead of the other individuals when it comes to drinking.

I’m so glad I asked you that because when I first got the email, I was like, “That sounds insane.” Thank you for answering it and giving your perspective because I was at a loss for words because to your point, it is a slippery slope. The part of the email that concerned me was the fact that his manager would make sure they work around things, like his excuses to make sure he could drink. It was like, “I can’t imagine how Jackson must be feeling.” Thank you for giving that advice. I’ve never been in this type of specific situation on an engagement. Your advice was really spot on. It’s unfortunate that that’s the type of situation we’re in, but what you shared was realistic, Ron. Thank you for that.

Thank you.

Hopefully Jackson, those tips helped. Good luck and I’ll have to keep posted on where Jackson is. You mentioned that being on the project for about three more months and hopefully when you’re able to roll off that project, focus on not getting on projects with those individuals. It would be my other words of advice. Jackson’s at a firm that I’ve never worked out before, so I’m not quite sure of the culture. It sounds like that may be a bigger thing to look at, Jackson, just in general. Is the rest of the culture like that at your firm? Is this project just one snippet of the rest of the culture? If that’s the case and this is something that you don’t want to be in, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be put in that situation again in the future if that’s the culture. You may want to take heed to that and think about is that the right place or are there other practices that the culture is different?

Sometimes with consulting, the other piece of that is it’s about the cultures of your local engagements, your local practices that makes the difference in your experience. Strategically looking at it at a higher level, that’s something that you may want to think about, Jackson. Ron gave a nice, good tactical, “Here’s day to day how to deal with it,” but the other side to that is look at the big picture. If everyone’s like that in the practice, you may want to do some thinking if that’s where you want to be long-term. This was great Ron. It was so great to reconnect with you. I can’t believe it’s been so long that we haven’t connected. Thank you for your time. This is great.

Anytime, it was a pleasure getting the opportunity to reconnect with you and being able to speak about my experience in consulting. The successes that I have and some of the challenges that I faced was definitely great to share with individuals who are interested in consulting, who are currently in consulting or looking to make a move in consulting. This podcast that you’re doing is going to be very helpful and useful to quite a few individuals, those who are new to consulting and even some that are seasoned consultants. Sometimes we as seasoned consultants need a refresher as to how to continue to be successful and how to avoid some pitfalls. It was a pleasure to be on your show and it’s an honor for you to ask me to be here. Thank you so much for having me, Christie.

I’m going to ask you to probably come back in the future. You gave so many different elements and different things to think about. Hopefully, you’re open to that offer.

Definitely, anytime.

Go-getters, if you have a career dilemma or want another piece of advice, feel free to drop us a line at MECEMuseUnplugged@Gmail.com. Again, I want to thank Ron and until next time. Here is to your journey to greatness.

Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the episode. This pop-up podcast was inspired by my book, The MECE Muse: 100+ Selected Practices, Unwritten Rules, and Habits of Great Consultants. I have people asking me over the last year many questions about this book but the one question that comes up constantly is, “Christie, you have such a demanding career. How did you find time to write this book?” Honestly, the answer is simple. I sought to become the mentor that I wish I had earlier in my career. In the beginning of my career, I didn’t have many mentors, mental maps of what success looks like. I struggled with that in a lot of different ways. What’s nice about struggles is that I overcame them, I grew stronger and more competent and I’m so excited where I am today in my career. I want to share what I’ve learned and be able to help you.

I wrote the book with my years of experience, but I also had an amazing opportunity to connect with over 50 or so consulting partners and leaders across the industry, sharing their stories, their antidotes, their resources on how you could be a great consultant yourself. Do me a favor. Pick up your phone right now. Go to www.MECEMuse.com. I’d love to hear your feedback on my book as well as the podcast. Thanks again for listening and here’s to your journey to greatness.

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