What are the five most critical skills to earning trust and credibility with your clients?
Find out how top performing consultants are answering this question! Respond to our survey and we’ll send you the results. Survey has one multiple choice question and takes less than five minutes. Thanks!
When I talk to consulting leaders, it’s not hard to quickly reach agreement that there are a set of communications and relationship skills which make a world of difference in how well their technologists, scientists, and subject matter experts align with and communicate effectively with the individuals and organizations they are serving.
The practical problem which follows is, which of those skills will have the greatest impact? Because it is difficult and unrealistic to develop capability on 20 or so parallel fronts, it’s helpful to get a sense for which of those skills and knowledge elements are the most critical to develop in the short term, and which can be deferred to later stages of development.
In this month’s letter, I’ll discuss the work that I’ve been doing with a couple of key partners, and invite you to participate in the research which will help us answer the prioritization question.
Partners International, Discovery Consulting and Ascendent Leadership are working together to better understand the critical competencies which enable a technologist, scientist, or subject matter expert to develop into the role of valued consultant or advisor. We want to understand how successful consultants build trust and credibility with the people they serve.
As part of our work, we have isolated 20 competencies which we believe are core to this transformation from subject matter expert to consultant. Here they are, grouped by a high level outline of categories. Even though we placed each of them in one category for simplicity, many or most of them could be relevant in multiple categories.
Here is our take on the four key categories and 20 discrete competencies:
|Awareness of personal emotions||Customer focus and presence|
|Reading others’ emotions||Asking powerful questions|
|Understanding client relationship needs||Active listening|
|Demonstrating confidence||Delivering difficult messages|
|Defending beliefs without being aggressive||Resolving conflict|
|Executive presence||Aligning with the client’s vision|
|Business acumen – general||Identifying, validating client requirements|
|Business acumen – specific to client firm or industry||Identifying alternative strategies, choosing the best|
|Asking relevant questions||Identifying, managing barriers|
|Telling relevant stories||Describing a clear path to the client vision|
We believe that all of these competencies are important and could be critical in any given situation. That said, we want to understand how consulting leaders would prioritize this list of 20 competencies to best assist their technologists, scientists, and subject matter experts in developing the communications and relationship skills they need to become true consultants and advisors to their clients.
Want to participate? Great! We invite you to take a short (3-5 min) survey which asks you to rank order those 20 competencies into four levels of importance to you. We also want to hear your input on any other competencies you see as critical that we did not include in our list. We will return the survey results to you if you provide your email address when taking the survey.
Click the link below to take the survey, and thanks!