As a scientist, I studied evolution. I found the analysis of how organisms adapt to their surroundings and the bigger question of ‘why’ they adapt in specific ways, endlessly exciting. I suppose the need to adapt to changing circumstances is, at least for me, one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a consultant. You simply never know what’s going to happen when you start the day and new challenges can arise at any time. Today’s first challenge is getting to my client.
One of the more interesting aspects of being a management consultant is living on the road. The typical work week begins with an early Monday flight to the client site. Due to last night’s storms in the Midwest, everything’s off schedule, and I wake to a voicemail that my flight has been cancelled and I’ve been rescheduled for a 4pm departure. A very small inconvenience, especially when compared to the impact of last night’s storms, but time to revise today’s plan.
Emails are feverishly sent out to my team leader about a critical client meeting that had originally been planned for 1pm. His flight’s also been cancelled, but is able to get on an early flight that gets him to our client by noon, so all is not lost. Before the day really gets rolling, we’re able to reach our client and reschedule for 3pm. Not ideal as I’ll be in the middle of a crowded airport, but we need to get agreement on our work plan for the next 5 weeks, so we press on.
I get to Accenture’s Midtown office by 9am, and settle in for a few hours, sorting and responding to emails that have built up, and completing work for my current project. My current project is an interesting challenge, as my client is looking to reduce its use of paper. For more service-oriented companies, like banks and mobile providers, paper use is one of the larger environmental impacts, and touches nearly every part of the business, from procurement (setting standards for product certifications and recycled content) to internal operations (office printing), corporate IT and the customer experience; paper flows through all areas. As a result, I’m engaging a wide variety of people from across my client’s business.
The first five weeks of this project have been focused on understanding the current state and developing a single view of their corporate-wide program…Consider it the literature review phase.
Tomorrow, the research process.