Say 'Yes' more often in Management Consulting
Well, forget about them. In the consulting world, it's all about “saying yes” like it's your middle name.
Let me share some thoughts that'll make it crystal clear.
Imagine this: you're a rising star in the consulting game, and your career trajectory relies heavily on making your boss sing your praises. How do you grow fast? Elementary, my dear Watson. By becoming the go-to problem-solver.
Now, here's the kicker. Your boss doesn't want to hear a single 'No' from you. Nope, not interested.
Picture these scenarios:
“Hey Rob, can you handle this last-minute fire drill?” And you respond with a “No.”
“Hey Bev, we might have to tackle a crazy RFP by the end of the week. Can you lend a hand?” And you hit them with a lackluster “Nah, I'm swamped with my current project.”
“Hey Jenny, Carl is drowning in work and might reach out for support. Do you have any spare time?” And you shoot back with a half-hearted “Not really, I'm already clocking in ten-hour days on my own engagement. Sorry, boss.”
Let me be clear: if you give any of those responses, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Big time.
What happens when you keep “saying no”
Maybe you genuinely have a packed schedule or you're not feeling particularly helpful towards your colleagues. Fair enough. But when you utter that 'no' to your boss, you're not just letting them down—you're letting yourself down too.
If I were your consulting leader, hearing 'no' when I ask for help would raise some serious doubts. I'd start wondering if you're just a negative person who can't handle the team spirit. Who wants to stick around somebody who is very good at auditing challenging situations and very bad at doing the work to fix them?
Let's be honest, if you're not there for me, why should I be there for you when you're in a tight spot? For example, when performance review time comes?
People gravitate towards positive and enthusiastic individuals. Your boss is no exception. Besides, your boss is juggling more pressure than a circus performer—dealing with his or her leadership, demanding clients, and the ever-changing market. The last thing they need is a junior consultant complaining about being too busy.
Now, let me give you another juicy insight: the power of 'yes' in action.
You see, when you say 'no,' someone else in your team will gladly step up. They're the ones who say 'yes' with a grin on their face.
They might be just as swamped as you, juggling a gazillion tasks on their complex project, but they've mastered the art of boss-pleasing. They are not simple ass-kissers. They understand that saying 'yes' pays off big time!
They're willing to go above and beyond, take on additional work, and you know what? They might even stumble upon some fascinating stuff and learn useful new skills while doing it.
One last thing: I've got a theory about the cost of always saying 'yes'. I'll be honest, I don't have exact numbers to back it up. But hear me out, and you'll see why it's worth considering.
When your boss reaches out and asks if you're interested in some new project or task, I say go for it—say 'yes' every time! Why? Because you might end up earning some major brownie points without breaking a sweat.
My theory: randomness in consulting opportunities
Here's my theory: it’s a fact that, in the consulting world, opportunities don't always pan out. They often have low success rates—like single-digit percentages. You've got to explore 100 leads just to land a couple of them. There’s total randomness at play. But when you say 'yes' to your boss, you're showing them that you're reliable and ready to step up if needed.
Now, here's the beauty of it: things change quickly in this business. Very quickly. That opportunity your boss talked about might disappear faster than a hot pizza at a party, you might get caught up in other stuff, your boss could find an alternative solution, or who knows what else could happen? Long story short, you will likely end up not having to do a thing!
And the kicker is - you'll still be the positive guy or gal who's always ready to help. Because, well… you had said 'yes,' right?
You've positioned yourself as a go-to person without really lifting a finger. It's like scoring goals without even stepping foot in the soccer field.
Remember, it's all about seizing opportunities and being a team player, and sometimes, it pays off even when things don't quite go as planned and you had to expend a total effort of... drumroll please... zero!
Choosing a consulting career can be a rollercoaster of excitement and rewards.
Ignore the noise from those lifestyle influencers or the 9-to-5 escapists that are spamming all over the internet their survivorship bias. A job in consulting is still a great place to start your career.
Not everyone has what it takes - the guts, the razor-sharp focus, the never-back-down resilience - to climb the ladder in the highly competitive management consulting industry. But, if you read this and learned to say ‘yes’ more often, you're already light years ahead.