Guest Column: With Whom You Associate Matters
Now More Than Ever: Whom You Associate With Matters
By Lisa Anderson and Linda Popky
When we took over management of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) in 2018 from Million Dollar Consulting Guru Alan Weiss, we realized there were multiple ways SAC could provide value to members.
We saw that not only is there great value in being connected to Alan Weiss and his body of work, but also in being exposed to other industry thought leaders, such as Marshall Goldsmith, Patricia Fripp, and others. We also realized that since most consultants are solopreneurs, some of the greatest value we could provide would come from being connected to other outstanding consultants in the global community.
That’s why we relaunched SAC with a few in-person events throughout the year, but an ongoing, steady diet of high-value virtual content. This includes our monthly Best Practices webinar series with industry experts, as well as the quarterly PRACTICUM webinars on such important topics as finance, insurance, marketing, and using LinkedIn. Last year, we began offering virtual Business Accelerator Labs—in-depth hands-on learning in a small, interactive workshop environment.
Now we’re adding a new series of biweekly webinars on Thriving Through Ambiguity. Topics will include tips from our mentor Alan Weiss on not just surviving in this environment but thriving, as well as other experts telling us how to present yourself effectively in a virtual situation, managing virtual meetings, exploring subscription options for consultants and clients, and more. We’re also creating Special Interest Groups (SIGs), to allow members with a particular area of expertise to connect and brainstorm with others in their field and exchange best practices—without ever leaving their desk.
Here are a few tips for how consultants can stay productive and profitable during this challenging time:
Get used to ambiguity. The global business environment is murky. In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, 2020 brings a pivotal presidential election in the US. In Europe, there are added challenges because of Brexit separating the UK from the European Union. The only constant is change.
- Let go of what used to be. No matter how great your prior offerings were, they’re no longer relevant. We’re in a new world now. Accept that and move on.
- Be careful who you choose as avatars. There are so many sources of information, and not all of them are appropriate for you as a solo consultant. Choose your advisors carefully. As Alan says, choose the ski instructor who is out on the slopes, not the one camped out in the safety of the ski lodge.
- Stay connected. While we may all be physically isolated, this is not the time to burrow away. Set up ongoing interactions with those who can support you personally and professionally.
- Help yourself by helping others. We are lucky to be able to control our work environment much more than those employed in full-time jobs. That gives us the flexibility to use our talents and skills to help others who are less fortunate during this crisis.
- Associate with powerful people. SAC members are some of the most successful experts in their fields. We believe they will continue to remain successful during this unsettling time, and afterwards.
We know there’s growth through association. Now is the time to leverage your associations for the benefit of you, your family, your clients, and all of us. Amongst all the ambiguity, that’s one thing of which we’re certain.
Lisa Anderson and Linda Popky are the Executive Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC), the premier global organization for independent consulting professionals who subscribe to an industry code of ethics and provide significant consulting results among their clients, with members in 14 countries around the world. Learn more about SAC atwww.consultingsociety.com.