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August 24, 2008

Who are you trying to impress?

Any serious consultant who has worked on a large scale project with other significant consultants will tell you that the camaraderie between consulting professionals is second to none.

I particularly enjoy this aspect of the game. When you get onto a project in (say) Norilsk Nickel near Siberia in Russia, their are two sorts fo consultants on the job.

The "green guys" who are on their first international mission, they are a bit concerned about where they are and wondering if this will really help their careers; and the hardened professionals who have been bouncing around the international circuit for decades.

Both are great characters, but it is the latter that really catches my attention.

When you are with like-minded and like-experienced people such as this then all the barriers melt away.

They have seen behind the smoke and mirrors, they face similar challenges and wild adventures, and they are generally experts in front of the client. The sorts of people who can stare down a hostile audience, in a a foreign language, and turn the lemons they are throwing into a fantastic speech on the value of fresh lemon aide.

These are the people you want to impress. These are the steel cables that hold together the networks of those of us willing to step out into the unknown. Not the boss, never the boss. The boss is just like you except he hasn't yet realized that being the boss is a career choice from the twentieth century...

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