So, You Want to Be a Consultant?

By Laura Heffelfinger | January 28, 2020

The lucrative world of consulting can be highly alluring for some personality types.  The promises of work from home (in your pj’s), flexible scheduling, company travel, exposure to a variety of business models and concepts, and the ability to work with people all over the world are all some of the reasons people get into consulting. And while those are indeed great perks of the job, the burnout and turnover rate can be high in consulting. Perhaps a better question is: why do people stay in consulting?

We learn and adapt. Everyday. Although we have a deep knowledge of healthcare and specific healthcare sectors, each project provides its own learning opportunity. The clients we work with, while the pain and problems can be similar, have a unique set of individuals and way of getting things done. While the solutions we provide share a common theme, how we approach the client team is entirely unique and hand-picked for the best possible partnership. This involves an incredible amount of willingness to learn, flexibility, and humility. Great consultants thrive on change.  They take what they’ve learned and can apply it going forward while still retaining the right to be pleasantly surprised at any given moment.

We get to be heroes. There is a reason organizations reach out to consultant agencies for advice and assistance. They recognize that they are lacking the expertise, time, resources or some combination therein to accomplish their goals. Establishing a partnership rooted in the client’s success allows us to offer delivery of their goals served in the form of a technology solution. When done right, we not only get to don the superhero cape but also earn a long-standing relationship with a client to continue with them in their journey forward.

We have to be villains. (You knew this one was coming, right?) For every time we are the hero, we are also the first to be blamed when something goes wrong. Why is this a good thing? Conflict is a part of life. Healthy conflict resolution not only offers an opportunity for personal growth, but demonstrates a partner mindset to work through challenges, offer new, creative solutions and continue to remain committed to the client’s success. This isn’t anyone’s favorite part of the job, but it’s inevitable and essential for both individual and organizational growth.

We seek champions. Within every organization are technology champions, and they aren’t necessarily in IT. These people are not only business subject matter experts but they also embrace the idea of using technology to go further, faster. Our champions may or may not have a seat at the table, but that doesn’t excuse us from finding them and developing their business knowledge, willingness to embrace change, and passion for technology. We rely on our champions to be our eyes and ears on the ground, let us know about potential hidden cultural roadblocks and in return our job is to elevate and advocate for them within their organization. It is our privilege to be their voice, give credit where due, and partner closely with them for maximum success.

We inspire. The art of the possible. It sounds like a nice marketing catch phrase, doesn’t it?  So often our clients have been stuck in their current broken pattern for so long they have a hard time imagining what could be. As a consultant we have the opportunity to not only fix what is broken and create a healthy foundation for our clients’ future growth and scalability, but we help them learn how to dream again. When our clients shift from reactive gestures to proactive movements, the ideas that follow are a natural progression.

We are agents of change.  I mentioned earlier that being able to learn, adapt and change are great attributes of a consultant. But more than being comfortable with change, we introduce change within organizations. When clients move from Excel files and paper tracking systems to a technology-driven workforce, their processes often undergo a major overhaul. Change management is a prominent piece of what we do. Encouraging our clients to embrace change while reassuring all roles of the opportunities available sets the framework for all partners to emerge having learned a thing or two.

Here at Virsys12 we have a wide range of consultants ranging from well-seasoned veterans to newbies straight outta’ Admin life.  While our own personal reasons for choosing the consulting path varies, the common theme that ties us all together are in our core values: Passion, Collaboration, Transformation, and Integrity.  We all believe we can do work that truly changes lives.