Does one become consultant as a satisfying career move or because of lack of other options?
Farid Yandouz: Becoming a consultant is an excellent catalyst for professional development! It is not always pursued just as a way of bringing fulfilment to a career. You must have noticed the incredible confusion related to the title of consultants amongst both customers and so-called consultants. There are no rules, which govern a consultant’s journey, but there are two professional development which lead to this profession:
1. The solid technical skills, which make a consultant an expert in his or her field
2. The range of cross-corporate experiences of an expert, which allow him or her to provide efficient benchmarking
Is solid expertise enough to earn a place in the world of consulting?
Farid Yandouz: To understand the type of skills required of a consultant, you must be open to the state of mind of the customer calling upon the consultant’s services. It is not enough to simply declare yourself a consultant, or to follow either or both of the journeys described above, a consultant must be truly be perceived as such by the customer. A client’s perception of a consultant’s services generally revolves around the concept of Trusted Advisor. In either of the cases mentioned, it is essential that the consultant’s posture follow guidelines revolving around the trust the customer grants to the proclaimed expertise. Much has been written on this theme, such “Everyday consulting”, a collective work coordinated by David Autissier & Jean-Michael Moutot, published by Dunod.
What advice would you give to those who want to clear a path to self-employment for themselves?
Farid Yandouz: The basic principles of consulting are often misunderstood, not through ill will, but generally through misguided assessment of the outlines of the trades. A successful consultant must always bear in mind that experience can be his or her own worst enemy. Experts at their cutting edge of their field must control the superiority complex which the length and breadth of the experience might provide them with. It is quite a challenge, after 10, 15 or 20 years focusing on specific issues, to be able to take a step back, see the wider picture and provide customers with solid advice and robust solutions. Once that step has been taken though, the perception of the consultant as a Trusted Advisor becomes well established and legitimate.