According to the definition, a consultant is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area. The higher skills, more expert knowledge and longer experience the more attractive you are. You start your consultancy career with ambition, curiosity and self-confidence thinking that you will produce all these amazing software solutions and being proud to call yourself a consultant — an expert in your area. Never doubtful about your ability or skills to write program.
You build software, and you deliver a solution.
DIFFERENT CHALLENGES IN DIFFERENT PROJECTS
Sometimes you are an addition to an existing consultancy team providing expertise in area of need but also simply providing work hours. Workflow is well-defined and tools are given. It is easy to align, fit in and do the work. Sometimes you are assigned to a project where chaos has reigned, and everyone are doing their own thing, hoping that will it be towards the same goal – it never is. But every now and then you get a project at a small company that has been very successful at what they do but time and technology has moved faster than they could have anticipated and hoped for. So, they need help to transform it something new. Those are the projects that are by far the toughest but also most rewarding, for you as person.
STEPPING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
You see, when we are well in the center of our comfort zone, we feel safe and secure. The closer we get to the border or even outside of it, we are challenged and start to feel insecure, afraid and stressed. But when you overcome the challenges you rise and feel strengthened with new experiences. Your comfort zone expands. Unfortunately, this will slowly shrink if you stop challenging yourself to some extent. This is why, for instance, people who have traveled with ease and joy earlier suddenly start to feel hesitant and anxious only by planning a vacation. Their comfort zone has contracted over years and this once comfortable task is now a challenge.
Further throughout my years I have been honored with being the Best Man at two weddings amongst others and therefore asked or requested to hold a speech. It is always with the same mixed feelings that I accept it. You want the speech to be all about the host but still something that everyone can understand. You want it to be personal but still something that everyone can relate to. You want to perform an amazing speech. so you spend a lot of nights thinking, planning, writing down notes, practicing, editing, and staring over again. Nervous about the audience expectation and the quality of your material, you stand up, tap the glass and perform your speech, all while you are close to the border of your comfort zone or not far outside of it... You have made it, and all the guests are happy - you rose to the challenge.
DELIVERING MORE THAN JUST A SOLUTION
So, coming out to these smaller companies all by yourself, to a project that is basically about transforming something outdated to something new, modern, well-designed and beautiful, you are really challenged. Understanding the expectations of the customer and hopefully exceeding them, and introducing new technology that you have to involve their employees in. Earning their respect and trust in that this is the right way, providing constructive criticism and receiving it of course. You are well on the border of your comfort zone, if not outside of it. You want to leave a positive footprint, high quality software, something that everyone can understand but still is personal, you want the customer to feel happy and satisfied with both you and what you have done for them.
You want to build a relationship, and you deliver an experience.
Author: Andreas Röhl