What is resilience in consulting?
Tech consulting is a lively and wonderfully exciting industry, but it isn’t the same as the average IT career path. There’s always something new to learn and something old to remember, be it the different nuances of an old software or the glinting, yet daunting GUI of a newly released cloud-based solution. I exist in the Managed Services space of consulting, so my view might be IT-infrastructure biased. Resilience in Consulting is the quality in a person who can feel the heat of a problem and find the cause, then do something effective about it with confidence and expertise.
Whether it is leading a client to implementing something themselves, with guidance, or doing the heavy lifting at their request, it is rewarding beyond ones’ own bottom line. The look of a person’s eye when they see what possibilities exist after leading them through the Mammoth Cave of a solution’s configuration or the relief of seeing the smoke clear, that’s why I stay in this oftentimes labeled “intense profession.”
So, technology solves all problems, right? There’s always a new shiny tool to use against an issue, but that which makes one technology solution useful and another problematic, often is deeply rooted in company circumstance. Technology doesn’t solve all problems; the right people do.
There’s a common thread with businesses I interact with daily, there’s always at least one major problem that needs addressed. Once that problem hits my inbox or comes up in that Zoom call, I see red. Not the red of rage, but the maroon hue of a fire with extreme, yet at times, abstract heat in a dark night’s sky. Mind you, not all fires are created equal, some are fueled by technical issues or incompatibilities, unexpected conditions and others are fueled by human misunderstanding or initiative deadlines. Those differences, though important to acknowledge, don’t change the fact that a fire is a fire.
These problems, these fires, have the sort of heat that can be felt across the ether, on laptop screens, through the language use in an email or an urgent phone call burning your earlobe after you hit “Accept”.
Companies usually have a technology department of some sort, but occasionally, to put out those fires, the solution would require changes in employee responsibilities that would create even more problems or fuel the flames higher and higher inadvertently.
Bad situations lead to great information and, organizational reflection.
When the fire rages and rages and rages on…leadership must look around the room and ask, “Can our employees withstand the heat? Can our employees put out this fire?”
Firefighters in the world are ready to run in and take care of actual fires, so who can companies look to address their technology fires?
Consulting firms can accomplish what internal staff may take a year to achieve, in under one third of the time, that takes resilience. Not to say that internal staff aren’t resilient, they have ongoing embers and smoldering coals under their feet already, most employers don’t wish to break their fine people’s resilience by throwing them to the fires that we “crazy consultants” love to assist with.
Well, what is resilience in consulting, really?
It’s the ability to do the detective work, or as I lovingly call it, the due dillies (diligence) to take in the scene of the fire before putting it out, finding that initial spark, and quickly doing something about it. Being resilient in consulting requires a strong team, open to questioning each other’s ideas and even critiquing a solution proposition, all while lifting each other up. Being resilient in consulting is finding the strength to hit reboot on that server everyone is afraid of or going through with that migration riddled with blockers and challenges, only to stand at the other end and say, “We did this together.”
How can I become more resilient?
No one person is the same, so some of this may not work for you, but part of my journey has been learning to become a bendable, but unbreaking resource for many companies, each with their own raging flames and organizational resilience to admit they need outside help.
I find comfort in rituals, small things to make sense of the chaos of consulting and life in general. The rewards of helping improve companies in my state and beyond go a long way but sometimes, we all get lost in the shuffle. Taking time, even if it is just 10 minutes here and there to listen to your favorite jam song, stepping away from the desk for a quick walk or a short conversation with a colleague can do wonders for the resilience level of a person in the thick of a flame burning bright beyond the glass pane of your laptop.
So, remember, technology problems will always be there, it’s who you choose to help you with them that shows an organization’s resilience in the face of adverse conditions.