I knew the first year of my developing my own consulting practice would be challenging; here is the advice I found most impactful.
I am extremely grateful to my coach who encouraged me to write, reflect, document, journal, etc. to capture these insights.
Know Your Audience
When he gave this advice almost 20 years ago, there was no way for my manager to know it’d resonate with such clarity two decades later! The advice wasn’t given to me in the literal sense; I wasn’t standing on a stage and speaking to an audience. But it was directed at how I communicated with the organization. He encouraged preparation before delivering a message – whether it be individually, to a team, or sending out an organization-wide correspondence. Consider the medium, anticipate questions, and make it as simple as possible. Be available for questions.
Year one required me to continually consider all this guidance as I got to know my audience (connections, clients, prospects, etc.). Adjust and try again when there was confusion; make note of worked well and repeat.
Do the Right Thing
If he had his way, the entire employee handbook would have been those four words. Fortunately, this president understood it just couldn’t be that simple. But that didn’t stop him from using this sentiment as the guiding principle for the way he ran his company and lived his life.
While it’s very simple, it’s not always clear what the right thing is… and I appreciate how much that made me (and others!) think. Sometimes, the ‘right’ thing for the employee, the ‘right’ thing for a customer, and the ‘right’ thing for a vendor might be in direct conflict with each other. It was a great honor to be trusted with that level of decision.
Year one required me to consider what the ‘right’ thing was as I made tough decisions about my time and my processes.
Just Be You, Red
This is the most recent piece of advice that resonated with me. Given by a dear friend and mentor, I’ve reflected on this one a lot lately. I remember very distinctly being reminded (in a very positive way!) that I didn’t have an employer/organization filter anymore. While initially liberating, I quickly realized the layer of protection an employer/organization offers as well. When I expressed uneasiness about this lack of “protection,” he quickly dismissed the need for any concern. His advice to focus on my own strengths was empowering and endearing.
Year one required a new level mental toughness, and I’m reminded how powerful it is to have someone believe in my ability to such a high degree.
What’s the most impactful piece of advice you’ve received?