The Consultant’s Pyramid™

Over the span of ten years and dozens of consulting engagements – which took him around the globe – Luke created The Consultant’s Pyramid™. The Consultant’s Pyramid™ outlines the traits necessary to succeed as one of the top 5% of global consultants in the industry.

The Consultant’s Pyramid outlines the traits necessary to succeed as one of the top 5% of global consultants in the industry.

Being a global consultant is tough… and it is not for everyone.  Because the barriers to entry into the consulting field are relatively low, your competitors could number in the thousands.  Therefore, if you plan on positioning yourself as a relevant brand name in the industry, you must dedicate yourself to continued self-improvement on a daily basis.  Every day that you’re not doing something to build upon your knowledge, your marketing, your client relationships, etc., is a day that you’re allowing your competitors to pass you by.  Take pride in yourself and the consultancy you are trying to build.  Maintain a fighting spirit and wake up each morning ready to face your competition head on.

Although there are very few new ideas in the consulting industry, there has been a recent explosion of interest for business consulting principles, which have been simply re-packaged or re-branded.  Remember, you are not only in the consulting business: you are also (if not more so) in the marketing business.  Organizations are always looking for the latest and greatest advice to improve their overall situation.  Be the consultant who fills this need by offering creative solutions via an intelligent marketing strategy.

If there is one phrase that is necessary to the success of today’s modern global consultant, it is “content is king.”  You absolutely must give away high-quality content, about your specific area of expertise, on a consistent basis.  Additionally, as people understand that there is an abundance of open-source material already available, you should be providing free, and easily accessible content, right now, in order to establish your claim as a leader in this field.  Therefore, when your prospective clients are ready to spend money on a consultant, you are already top-of-mind and have established your bona fides with them.  Consider your free content as an on-going job interview.  The more you demonstrate your knowledge in the subject matter, the better your chance of landing the position as paid trusted advisor.

No client wants to hire a consultant who is unsure of him/herself.  Consultants are usually brought in to solve a problem that cannot be fixed from the inside.  Therefore, a consultant must project the appearance of someone who knows what to do, how to do it, and is in control of the situation.  Timid consultants do not last long.

Rarely is a consultant dropped into a situation where he/she can solve a problem without continuous input from the client.  Therefore, to more effectively and efficiently resolve the client’s condition, two-way communication must be easily accessible.  The quickest way to destroy a consulting engagement is through poor communication.

A successful consulting engagement is often determined by the relationship between the client and the consultant.  Often times the consultant is privy to sensitive, often embarrassing, information about the client and the organization.  For this reason, a genuine connection be must be established, in order for the consultant to truly become a trusted advisor to the client.

Character is one of the cornerstones of the consulting pyramid and defined as doing the right thing all the time, even when nobody is around to see it.  As it relates to an effective consultant, it is also the person who avoids shortcuts to get the job done right.  It’s very easy in the services industry to use boilerplates or some other type of rehashed methodologies or templates.  But when a client expects a customized deliverable, which should be unique to that particular situation, the consultant should invest honest efforts to solve that client’s problems, by looking at it with fresh ideas and perspectives.

Despite the best intentions, a good consultant still needs to know what he or she is doing.  Competency in consulting means thoroughly understanding the craft of identifying and solving your clients’ toughest problems.  Without the proper skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform a consulting engagement, the person can never truly call him/herself a consultant.

As a consultant, your contribution is what you do to improve your client’s condition.  It is your deliverable.  Remember, you are not paid by a client because you have a fancy degree or impressive references: you are compensated for fixing a problem.  At the end of a consulting engagement, you should be able to answer the simple question, “Did the client’s condition improve as a result of my services?”

Consistency is another cornerstone (along with Character), which is the foundation of the consulting pyramid.  The difference between people who are good at something and people who are great with something, is their ability to do it over and over again.  Any consultant can get lucky and solve a client problem one-time.  The great consultants do it repeatedly and make success a habit.