By Vicki Wright Hamilton

The following articles are written by Vicki Wright Hamilton.

Consulting in Corporate America Part II: From Internal Consultant to Employee

For those of us who have found ourselves transitioning from in-house consultants to full-time employees; the transition process is often bittersweet. On one-hand there maybe excitement about the new opportunity and security that a full-time position can bring. However, there is also the process of becoming accustomed to colleagues and work environment. I have compiled a short list of items that are important to remember during your transition.

Tips for Your Transition:

  • Corporate Culture: It is important that you assess the culture of the organization that you will serve prior to coming on-board as an employee. Serving as a consultant provides insight into the inner workings of the organization. This assessment will help you determine which characteristics drive projects in that organization. For instance, is this an organization where the culture seems to be very political, fast-paced, slow, authoritative, etc. Accurately making this assessment while help you to understand how quickly or slowly decisions will be executed.

 

  • Collaborating with Colleagues: As a new employee, you now have the benefit of having colleagues that have the business acumen to help move initiatives forward. While these keen business skills can be a huge asset. It is important to remember that everyone doesn’t come from the world of consulting so the processes by which colleagues execute deliverables may vary. It is very important to focus on building relationships with your colleagues and to learn each team member’s core strengths. These relationships will prove valuable during execution, and understanding your colleagues’ strengths will ensure that everyone is working on deliverables that meet their skill set.

It is important to have a good grasp of the people, processes and organization goals in order to serve the company successfully. Remember, your job is to complete all expectations with quality and efficiency. The organization is ultimately concerned about how they can benefit from your talent and expertise.

Consulting in Corporate America: Part I From Freelancer to Internal Consultant

 Serving as a consultant in corporate America, provides some incredible opportunities as well as its own unique share of challenges. I have had the pleasure of working both, as a technology/business consultant for various industries and organizations for almost a decade. I have also been employed by large firms and had the responsibility of hiring consultants. As a result of these experiences, I have compiled a pretty comprehensive list of best practices. Please allow me to share a few of the tips that I have learned along the way, to help those of you who are transitioning from freelance consulting to working as an in-house consultant for a large firm.

Key Points to Keep in Mind During Your Transition:

ROI – Let’s face it large firms have set budgets just like any other company. This means that every dollar has a value of an expected return.  So, when companies hire an outside consultant, they “box” the hours and the total cost for each deliverable. Therefore, the consulting company will employ talented consultants with set deliverables due to their customer.  The teams comprise of individuals, whom have the set purpose and focus to work on that one service for the customer.  Well, that’s great!  But, what happens when the freelancer becomes an internal consultant?  They are now having to accept the talent that is already in place, the slowness of time that may occur on acceptance of change; and know that they have to work on a million things at one time vs. one focused initiative.

It is important to have a good grasp of the people, processes and organization goals in order to serve the company successfully in your new role. Remember, your job is to execute efficiently; simplify processes and increase the return on investments.  The organization is ultimately concerned about how they can benefit from your expertise and varied experiences.

Forge ahead with confidence! Your consulting experience provides tremendous value for any organization that brings you on board. As a freelance consultant you have had the opportunity to work with varying organizations with different methodologies and processes that you can now share with your new organization. Transferable skills that you have learned along the way will be crucial in navigating this new role.  You have the benefit of being able to tackle similar challenges with an array of different strategies.

 

Divorce and Job Dilemma’s

During this time of year when most of us are filled with festive thoughts of sharing the holidays with those that we love. However, there are a lot of people that are still experiencing the everyday challenges of life while trying to balance careers, families, financial obligations and a host of other issues. Even though mentoring relationships are typically of the professional nature, there are times when personal challenges arise and need to be addressed. I was reminded of these challenges during a recent meeting with my mentee Sandra.  She is newly divorced and raising her two sons alone without any child support.  However, she is continuing to live in the home that she once shared with her ex-husband and he is footing the bill. This living situation was supposed to be a temporary one, however she has continued to live in the home a year and half after the divorce has been finalized.

On this particular day, we were talking about some major issues that Sandra was facing. She is in the home health care business and works through an agency. She has been working over nights, as well as, twelve hour days.  Sandra had recently been assigned to an overnight shift that begins Monday morning through Saturday morning. Although, this schedule pays well, and helps her to fulfill her monthly obligations she has not had any remaining funds for savings.

Sandra is fortunate to have her parents living close by who are able to help with her two boys while she works. She was raised by her father and the two are extremely close. Her father has remarried, she and her step-mother do not get along for many reasons.  However, she has learned to deal with it, as she needs help with her kids.

During our conversation, Sandra shared that her ex-husband wanted to move back into the home that she is living in. When he called her, he initially stated that he wanted to know if she was over her “temper tantrum” and was ready to get re-married.  She told him no, as she divorced him after being hit by him.  Now, that her ex-husband insists on moving back into the home they once shared, Sandra has to move out.  This is where the dilemma for her starts.

She is facing the following:

1. Where does she move to?  If she moves to her father’s house, she has to deal with her step mother on a regular basis.  They usually only make it when they live in two different places and only around each other for a short period of time.  She doesn’t make enough money to afford a place on her own.

2. Although her husband has been paying the house note, she informed me that her name was on the title.  Oh no, now she is impacted, from a credit perspective, if he doesn’t pay the bill.

3. Her oldest son is having a hard time.  He told her that he understands she has to work.  However, he doesn’t like it.  Her son works odd jobs to make extra money.  So, he told Sandra that he had 300.00 to give to her, so he could buy her hours.  This way, she could take the day off and still get paid, as oppose to not getting any money.  Sandra was touched and cried her eyes out. She proceeded to tell her son that she would take one day, but that is not how it works.  She must be dependable and reliable to the agency, so she would continue to have a job and work.

As we discussed each of the above issues, we began to break down each situation separately.  She knows that she can’t go back to her ex-husband and she can’t let him “guilt” her into doing so.  She has to move and have a stable environment for her kids.  Does this mean that Sandra has to put her feelings aside regarding her step mother?  Does this mean that she has to make sure that her kids have a roof over their heads, food, clothes and the ability to concentrate in school?  The answer to all of the above is yes.  Yet, maybe she could talk to her father about her feelings and gain some insight and advice from him.  Maybe, she could have a conversation with her step mother and discuss the problems or issues she has with her and come to some solutions.

The second issue, Sandra knows she must get her name off of the house note.  She talked about the fact, that she had this conversation with her ex-husband. Unfortunately, he said that he would do it, as long as she went out with him again.  Should she go?  What does she do?  How does she handle this situation so she is not exposed?  We discussed that she could go to the mortgage holder and let them know that she is divorced and discuss the options to remove her name or the accountability.  We also discussed going to her attorney to handle this situation from a legal standpoint.  This would ensure that he could not bribe her or hold this over her head.

On item number three, Sandra said that she has quality time with her children and talks to them about homework daily.  She spends all weekend with her kids most of the time.  The real problem is that since she knows she has to bring in more income, she has been taking jobs on the weekends to make extra money.  She is now having to decide whether or not the extra money is worth the time away from her children?  If this is a must, how can she help the boys understand by knowing that it is short term and she will be able to stop working the extra hours in 3 months?  This is how much time she will need this second job.  What should she do and how does she help her kids understand?  Maybe, she can talk to them and let them know it is short term.  While she does that, she can begin to put “feelers” out about a new opportunity.  Looking for a better paying job.

Sandra was so frustrated and all she could say was, “the bottom line is that I need a new job that can pay me more money”.  I could understand her pain and need to do more, as I have been down that road.  However, it was important for us to put an action plan together, so she can work towards getting her life back on track.  After much discussion, tears and planning, Sandra decided to move in with her father and have a conversation with both he and her stepmother.  She did call her attorney and the bank.  She started her plan of action to remove her name.  Lastly, we put together a network of individuals, whom she could meet to help with her job search.  Sandra and I looked up opportunities with her qualifications.  At the end of our session, she began to feel like there really was hope again.  She just needs to stay focused.

Agile vs. Waterfall in Business

The concept of business agility is coming up more and more in my daily conversations with colleagues and mentees. For those of us that come from the technology world. We are accustomed to hearing the terms agile and waterfall as it relates to coding. However, this concept is also relevant in the ever changing world of business. Like projects in technology, businesses have to adapt to project like methodologies.

 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in your workplace where you have been tasked with several different activities in a limited time frame?

 We’ve all been there right. Gone are the days of handling business functions in a traditional linear method. Linear thinking is crippling businesses on a global level. New industry demands are calling for matrix and cross function environments that move horizontally. These new demands indicate that there is even more reason to use an agile sprint approach for projects. Businesses are becoming more and more complex with parts that are interdependent on one another. Often times these projects are multi-functional and far reaching impacting multiple parts of an organization.

Remember, the waterfall methodology involves tackling one aspect of business at a time, with plenty of time built in to test, assess risk and redefine accordingly. Today’s businesses are requiring their employees to handle a wide array of activities at the same time to propel the business forward, and gain quick-wins. In short, companies are seeking agile sprints as opposed to trickle down waterfall productivity from a decision making and results perspective.

When utilizing an agile methodology there are a few realizations that we must come to accept:

  1. You can’t be perfect, but quality is still important.
  2. Results are needed in a faster fashion.
  3. Calculated Risk not Perfection
  4. What is the Projects’ and Business Tolerance Level
  5. Smaller sprints with more focused results, yield favorable results

How are you using an Agile Methodology in your workplace? Join the discussion; I would love to hear from you?

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2300 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 103-105 Roswell, GA 30076
770-833-7118 | vicki@thewrightanswer.net

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