How to be a successful interim consultant

A few clients have asked me recently how we identify top interim consultants and attract them into our network, and it got me thinking about what really are the core personality traits that make someone successful in consulting, and more specifically in Interim Consulting.

The characteristics that immediately spring to mind for me are: professionalism; expert knowledge; organisation; good listening skills; and being a team player.  These are traits that I saw time and again in my time at Accenture and still see around me within the B2E team (most of us have a consulting background).

I wanted to dig a little deeper though, and see what singles out excellence in “Interim Consultants” specifically over and above their Big 5 or niche consulting firm rivals.

To be a successful interim consultant, you need to be a risk taker and cope well with ambiguity.  For half your working life you may be looking for a new role!   You need to be extremely confident socially – not only do you need to win allies quickly at the client site, you also need to constantly grow your network in order to be successful at winning new roles.  You need to be clever but in a pragmatic way, and draw quickly on past experiences.  You also need to fit in well with existing teams and get things done rapidly.

Pip Henderson, one of our Service Delivery Partners, helps clients to find the optimum resources for their transformation programmes; she manages the consultants through the hiring process and well beyond, and is often co-located at client sites with our interim consultants.

So I asked Pip for her thoughts on who is most likely to succeed in interim consulting.   She told me, “Interim consultants need to be confident and hard-working, and able to hit the ground running.  They need to be experts in their field.  With the best, it’s often the case (and great for all parties) that they can extend the scope of their own initial contracts, by either taking on new projects, or at the end of the initial role moving into a different project or programme at the same client.”

We are often asked why, and in what way, interim consultants are any different from a Big 5 Consultant or Niche consultant (at the same rate)?  Pip says “they are self- sufficient and often more experienced and still they bring consulting methodologies from the Big 5 or elsewhere.  It helps when they have done this stuff time and time again in different client environments.”

I’d really love to hear more on this topic.  If you are a Hiring Manager who has had experience with interim consultants, or if you are an interim consultant yourself, why not message us with your thoughts on the characteristics that are key to being a successful interim consultant

To find out more about how B2E Consulting can help you achieve transformation in an agile and cost effective way, please visit our website or give one of our friendly team a call.

About the author, Julie Crawford

Julie joined B2E in 2015 and is one of our Capability Managers.  In this role, she sources the best people within our community for a variety of business & technology consulting roles.  Prior to this Julie spent 7 years with Accenture specialising in Strategy, CRM and Process change, with a specific focus on the Travel Industry. She went on to lead the EMEA Hotel Solutions Group and later the UK Meetings and Events Department for Carlson Wagonlit Travel over a 7-year period.