Subscription Options

June 29, 2008

The true life of the road warrior

This is the nomadic reality of management consulting: living life as the outsider in someone else's office, with clients instead of colleagues and a laptop instead of a desk. (The Guardian, 21 June, 2008)
Consultants are as much as part of modern business competition as privateers were of warfare during the 16th to the 18th century. We are the secret agents used to increase a companies competitive advantage. Enabling them to be more productive, more profitable, and more effective.

When we arrive companies have problems, and when we leave, they should be in a better condition. Fantastic job satisfaction, incredibly healthy for ones ego, and one of the most fascinating career choices on the planet today.

But it does have its costs...

Consultants are the ultimate road warriors. The clients don't come to us, we normally have to go to them. While you can often educe the travel required, many times they expect or demand on site face time.

As a road warrior I always find myself looking for space at a table, spare desk, or in a meeting room so I can catch up with some work. Although more often than not I have to do my work in the evenings because during the day I am "client facing".

What does that mean? means that I am right in front of them, facilitating, training, speaking, participating in meetings. I don't have time to take calls, write reports, summarize discussions, draft innovation statements, or create solution diagrams. Day time is "pay-time", the time when I need to reassure the client that I am the person who can fix their problems, and actively work to do so.

Evenings are catch up time, when I try to get the work done that supports everything said during the days. (Or whatever else)

I rarely see my colleagues, I am often away from my family. And when I am with the clients I am the guy who could be trying to get rid of them in the name of efficiency...

And I love it!!! 

I work on issues that change the course of companies, countries, and industry sectors. We deal in secrecy, big decisions and improved organizations. I couldn't change if I wanted to.