You do not have to wait until you get an assignment as a Consultant in order to start making the transformation from Contractor to Consultant. Your transformation can start right here, right now in your current assignment as a Contractor.
I came to this realisation when I set out to make this transformation in my own career. I told myself, this is where you can start practicing your consultancy skills; right here, right now in this assignment. I decided that, if I was going to be a Consultant, then I should start thinking and acting as if I already was one. So, how does a good Independent Consultant think and act?
Consultants do not just sit around waiting to be told what to do, they go and find out!
For example, when starting out on a new assignment, if I was not given clear instructions at the outset on what I was meant to do, instead of sitting and simply clocking up my chargeable hours, I went and found the right person and asked the right questions in order to get me started.
On some assignments, this often required a lot of patience and effort but (eventually) I always found the right person from whom to get clear direction.
Consultants don’t just swap hours for dollars.
I had learnt that you can always tell the truly good Consultants by the quality of the questions that they ask. I became committed to asking better questions in order to maintain clarity of direction and make sure that everything I did always offered value to the client.
I changed out of Contractor Mode, which was all about swapping hours for dollars and, instead, started swapping my skills, experience, knowledge and wisdom for dollars, always delivering more than was expected.
Consultants do no harm.
Let me clarify. If I ever felt that something I was asked to do did not serve the client (even though I would still get paid for doing it) then, before I did anything, I discussed this with the them, asked better questions, got clarification and so ensured that I was always taking the client in the right direction and closer to where they wanted to be.
Consultants think outside the box but inside budget and scope.
Whenever I had ideas that might be considered ‘thinking outside the box’, before proposing these to the client I made sure that I was not also thinking outside of the scope of the current assignment, because the budget and the time constraints might not support this. It might have been a good idea but it’s only truly good if it can be done within the scope and constraints of the current assignment.
Consultants never give up on a really good idea.
If the idea I came up with was just too good to ignore, I would write a separate paper about it (in my own time) and present this to the client as something that they might consider implementing at a future date.
It Worked for Me It Will Work for You
If you follow all of the above points you will successfully start the transformation from Contractor to Consultant and you can begin right here, right now in your current assignment, no matter what that is.
Even in your current assignment, where you might be employed simply as a Contractor, you can start ‘acting as if’ you already are an Independent Consultant and begin building a reputation as a person who always brings added value to their clients, rather than being just a butt on a seat.