It’s not always obvious how to succeed
The other day I had the occasion to speak with a fellow, let’s call him the “Newbie”, who had recently been given an offer to work at a major consultancy. The gist of this call was quite simple, he wanted to know how to succeed and prosper in a consulting organization.
What made this conversation so intriguing to me was that Newbie had spoken with someone else who had been hired by the same consultancy and let go some 12 — 18 months later. We’ll call him “Surprised”. Since Newbie knew that Surprised was a bright sharp fellow. Newbie was concerned that Surprised had been let go and when these two discussed the matter, Newbie sensed tremendous frustration on the part of Surprised.
How could Newbie avoid the same fate?
I’ll skip much of the back-and-forth of our conversation but it did involve quite a bit of discovery to understand why one person can work out in this type of organization and another will not.
Surprised came from a command and control career background. He awaited orders and then acted on them. When he went to work for the consultancy, he asked his superiors on multiple occasions what he needed to do and how to get promoted. He apparently got his fair share of assignments but was not going to be promoted. And, eventually, Surprised was cut loose. Waiting for orders may work in some organizations but it doesn’t in others.
That one paragraph contains plenty of clues for me. While this consultancy is a corporation today, it used to be an up or out oriented partnership. To get ahead in a partnership, one must absolutely demonstrate that one is entrepreneurial. People get promoted in this type of business based on their ability to find opportunities and grow the business…