Some people envision the joy of consulting as being project diversity, flexible hours or working from home (with your dog sleeping next to you) and the best reasons to become a consultant. While these certainly are some great benefits (and my Giant Schnauzer, Cooper, would agree), I find the true joy in consulting to be the terrific people I come in contact with…my clients!
I have been very fortunate to have worked with organizations located in a wide variety of geographic areas. Some projects are completed strictly remotely, which has its own benefits, while other times I am lucky enough to travel to client sites. I say “lucky” because being onsite with my clients not only provides me with greater insight to how the organization functions, but allows me to facilitate team meetings, train staff face-to-face and advance communication beyond email and phone calls. The additional communication allows us to learn more about one another as individuals and more complete personalities tend to come out.
I am continuously delighted about how many former clients are now current friends. This is helped, at times, through the use of social media (Facebook and Twitter specifically), but even without the social media connections I know the friendships will endure whether people are located in Montgomery, AL or Jacksonville, FL or Puerto Rico. I believe that part of this is based on common interests, but also because there is a shared respect for hard work and celebration of achievements (in my case when an organization becoming accredited, the Board approves a new strategic plan, etc.). When you work with talented, friendly individuals it is easy to be open and honest and, as a result, I find that a friendship will often organically develop.
Have I forged friendships with every person I have come in contact with through consulting? No, of course not, and that’s okay. However, I have had positive relations with everyone I have worked with. And it is those interactions that develop into lasting friendships that I will always cherish.
Here is a picture of me with two former clients (CEO and Quality Improvement Director), now friends, as we had dinner atop the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, NM. I think that the joy is easy to see in each of our faces, which is just part of the joy of consulting.
Are you a consultant or have you worked with one? What would you consider to be the joy of consulting?