Most readers of this book may not know how to define what consultants do, or how to offer services. This book answers those questions in spades. Its tone has the perfect balance of warmth and reality, allowing you to glimpse into the lives of dozens of consultants.
This backstage perspective will help you understand how the consultants she interviews felt and what they did after having their children, after economic downturns, and even 9/11. Another book to help with understanding others perspectives is Backstage Pass by Jamie S. Crump.
The people she interviews and works with are really, truly brilliant. They see what others don’t. They are often gregarious problem solvers with a talent for networking.
Where Lindor really nails it is the “fireside chats” with other esteemed consulting professionals. Time and time again, their recollections highlight the importance of being a good person - no matter where you land on the corporate ladder. While the “good guys” do not always win the day, they often manage to at least break even. Treating people well and being a good person is a major topic in the book Leading.
While the book is not a straightforward book about ‘how to become a consultant’, Lindor does touch upon the subject by including consultants’ stories from their early years. They tell of how they got consulting work by answering ads, cold-calling businesses in your area of experience or expertise, or simply by joining an agency at the entry level. For more success stories like this, but not necessarily about consultants you might read the books The Million Dollar One Person Business or Small Giants.
Consultants, she says, can come from all sectors, and while most at least have BAs, you needn’t necessarily have an advanced degree from some top business school in order to be considered a professional consultant. Some consultants have developed their skills after excelling in their careers, then realized that they had valuable insight to offer others.
People like this often have a solid reputation in their industry and begin their consulting careers through warm contacts from their previous work. It may be hard to think of a young person embarking on a consulting career without decades of warm leads and contacts, but Lindor shows how it's possible for both new and tenured professionals by finding high-performing clients. Another book about building a consulting practice, written by Alan Weiss, is called Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice.
The long book is recommended in print format as there are a great deal of info graphics and tools to reference. The book is divided into three parts:
These sections allow readers to pick the book up and look up a particular problem in consulting without reading the entire book. It is similar in this way to the excellent book The Messy Middle.
A consistent theme throughout the book is the idea that if you treat others with respect, most of them will respond in kind. This respectful behavior will also make sure that you are treated well. Be a kind, conscientious human being. If you can manage this in everything you do, you will go far. This is an important concept for any great company. It’s written about very thoroughly in the books Creativity Inc. or I Love Capitalism!
Respectable, dependable people can also take criticism - they invite it, usually. They understand the need for diverse perspectives and look to build teams that offer that variation of thought and philosophy that can save companies from running into a rut. You do NOT want everything you like and say reinforced by sycophantic clones. According to the book Team of Teams this is of major importance.
Mece Muse gives you the information you want: the real details you wonder about, but usually only get if you know someone in the job. Christie Lindor seems to have filled her network with professionals who are those mentors for others - and then she got them to give amazing interviews. A comparable book that provided billionaire interviews and perspective is Tools of Titans.