By Grant Aasen
I spent ~6 months with a client, so there were ample opportunities to demonstrate the LION mentality that separates GSC from the rest of the pack.
Recognizing my role as the meeting leader allowed me to define what I needed to do to be successful and then deliver in those capacities no matter who the audience was.
A few months into my project work with my client, I was given the task to facilitate a weekly status meeting. This was daunting because it involved about a dozen key stakeholders including SVPs and, occasionally, the President. I was nervous, since I was still relatively new to consulting and this client. Nonetheless, I was tasked to lead these meetings and give the status updates. I wanted to succeed and knew that the stakeholders were depending on my ability to lead. Through my interactions with my GSC team members and, particularly, the co-worker on this same project, I was able to learn how to lead in this setting. My co-worker had been on this project for a time before I came on, and she has extensive experience working with client’s and leading high-level status meetings. By watching how she approached and led these meetings, I was able to see and learn what it took to do it the right way. Based off her example, I knew that in order to lead well I needed to do adequate meeting preparation as well as have a clear and focused goal that I wanted to achieve for that time. Recognizing my role as the meeting leader allowed me to define what I needed to do to be successful and then deliver in those capacities no matter who the audience was. The result was that the meetings were productive, efficient, and smooth. A compliment or a recognition would have been great, however, this is business, we were there to get a job done and so delivering at a high level is expected. We clearly achieved that as a team.
My client asked me to come up with a custom process that verified that the bill amount actually charged to a customer matched the customer’s account record. There were multiple databases and various forms of reporting which made this difficult for the client to understand without my help. I needed to come up with a thorough methodology to consider the dozens of charges as well as differing reporting formats all while making sure that the numbers matched.
This challenged me to come up with a tailored solution for the client’s needs that was repeatable across their multiple product lines. I created an innovate process that took a systematic approach to data recording, matching, and tracking for all charge types broken down by product line and database. The result was an expansive and thorough deliverable that provided answers to any inquiries that the client generated. The implementation of this process and investigation led to finding several charging errors that, if left undiscovered, would’ve become major problems in the future. Using this process, the client was able to efficiently and effectively find the errors, further investigate, and solve the problems before they became big problems.
Openness & Sharing
For a time, a co-worker was having difficulty with a client. This was clearly going beyond affecting her work. Leaning on our value of Openness and Sharing, I offered some time to listen to what she needed to say. I offered to hear what was causing her frustration. As we talked, it was clear that talking it out helped her to refocus and approach work with her usual enthusiasm and dedication. My conversations with her also helped me to see how consultants handle work frustration in a professional and honest way. The trust we gained in each other allows me even today to know I can share my work experience with her and receive similar support from the GSC team.
Nice, Friendly, and Approachable
Due to me being nice, friendly, and approachable, I was able to overcome the stigma of being an “outsider”.
One of the challenges of being a consultant at the client site is that you are an outsider. This is not because you are a villain or looked down upon but, rather, you are simply a member of a different company. For the most part, it is neither good nor bad. However, it is good to remember this aspect when you are interacting with members on the client’s side. It is good because it will also remind you that being nice, friendly, and approachable can go a long way in building good and healthy relationships with those on the client side. In several instances while I was working with the client, a meeting or call would conclude earlier than expected, and some of the client employees would engage in small talk since they knew each other via common work. Rather than sit back and just mute myself until I had something work related to say, I engaged them in their conversation which was typically about everyday things. Over time, I saw the fruit of these interactions. The client-side employees began to appreciate what I said more. They also began to treat me like a colleague. This gave me more confidence to speak my mind professionally as well as gained their trust and respect. Due to me being nice, friendly, and approachable, I was able to overcome the stigma of being an “outsider”.