Manifesto for an Emerging Consultant Counter Culture: Why Change?

My earlier post about the change in how consultants will operate in the future helped me get some long standing ideas out “on paper”, but not everything I have been thinking about got in there, so I will keep posting as things come to mind..

For more and more of the best consultants, a cognitive dissonance has been ringing in their ears for a long time. The rate of learning within a major consulting group is very steep in the beginning, but after 12-18 months it quickly begins to flatten as projects become more and more constrained and fewer ideas are new to you anymore.

To join the new world of “Consulting 2.0” as Johnnie has called it, there needs to be a set of compelling reasons to make this transition and an adequate set of information and support out there to make the change possible for as many people as possible. It will always come down to each person’s own needs, but at the surface there are a lot of compelling reasons to leave a major consulting firm, or even to leave a smaller but constrained group.

The new model for consulting is so different that we have to start to think about whether it can be called “consulting” at all. It is a new type of partnership that lets great thinkers implement and experience their best ideas, and it allows organizations to mature with the best guidance they can find.

Here are some of my personal reasons for having stayed independent:

Own your ideas

When you are independent you are now competing in a worldwide market for ideas. The wonderful side effect is that you own your ideas, and you own the success that comes out of them.

This also means that you will see other people using your ideas much sooner, but that provides your with more and more credibility and you quickly become recognized as a leader in your niche. This is much more difficult when your language, communication channels or the speed with which you can talk about new ideas is constrained by having to work within a larger structure.

Own your work

Your work is your calling card and you deserve to own the benefits of your work. Being independent allows you more flexibility to get revenue sharing agreements that benefit you directly, as well as the ability to communicate your role in past projects much more clearly to new clients as well as potential work partners.

Freedom to decide

In order to do your best work, you need your passion to shine through. When you are working the a network of Consulting 2.0 experts, you have the freedom to decide for yourself if a project is exciting enough for you, and if it isn’t, you can still contribute on a much smaller scale, or not at all.

The freedom to work on real work, that feeds the soul, the mind, (and the belly) will not only put years on your life, but it will open your mind to explore more interesting and invigorating ideas.

Personal space

Life never goes according to plan, whatever nasty surprises or exciting opportunities lay around the corner, if they come calling, you need to be able to devote enough personal energy to them to see them resolved.

The New World demands change

You don’t see many priests leading parishioners to a belief in Mohammed’s teachings, nor do you find a poor mother discussing investment strategy over lunch.

Many of the best consultants and business thinkers in the world are beginning to see that a flatter, more open, Agora is fundamental to seeing a new economic revolution for organizations. Euan said it best, major corporately modeled consulting groups would need a “personality transplant” to work in this new world. Johnnie rightly encourages us not to focus on bashing the old guard, but to focus on how positive these ideas are.

The truth is, that if we are going to lead an organization to a new model for work, both structurally and culturally, we need to be the very model of the change we advocate.

Get Paid More

I have no idea what you are getting paid now, but chances are you can more a lot more money working for yourself.

Beaten up by the best

If you are going to make a mistake, or it is time to “learn a lesson”, you may as well learn from the best.

Everyone will have their own reasons, and it is impossible to be prescriptive, but a new model for consulting, on both a large and small scale, has a lot to offer those who can contribute into a larger collaborative network.

Update: Rod writes about his blog getting him a new job, and covers some of the reasons that anyone who is a leader has to be blogging.

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