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Can You Spare a Minute?

A true story.

Last week I was in South Carolina doing work for a client and staying at the local Hilton Garden Inn. After finishing work and having dinner, I returned to the hotel and go

t on the elevator to head to my 3rd floor room. I stepped on

the elevator at the same time with a young man I did not know. As the doors closed, he asked me “what brings you here”. I explained I was a consultant working with a local client. He asked, “do you do management consulting?”. I said yes and he asked if he could speak with me..that he would really like my opinion and insight on consulting. I was shocked that we got to this stage in less time than it took to get to the third floor of the hotel and I found myself agreeing to sit and talk with him. I was back in the lobby 15 minutes later meeting with this young stranger and discussing my background and my business.

He was eager to learn. To understand. It seemed like he hung on every word I offered and asked very good questions. If only my kids listened to me like this!

He is a young engineer with a Master’s degree working for a large international company doing testing and evaluation. However, he has a strong desire to work for a large consulting firm (Mackenzie, ATK, Accenture) and I asked him why. I quizzed his intentions and challenged his focus. He had good answers and was resilient in his determination. I shared my limited experience with these large firms and explained how what I and others do as consultants and how we often get to the same place in very different ways that offer clients very different experiences and perspectives.

In the end, we spoke for almost an hour. I offered and ultimately did, connect him to a few people I know that have lived in the world he wants to enter. I told him that while my experience may offer some insight, he really needs to educate himself about what the large consulting firms are looking for in young candidates from those who have lived it.

We both left the conversation with some good takeaways. For me, it was very satisfying to help another on a journey and offer my perspective. I feel like I truly helped him. It also helped reinforce for me, how I am best equipped help clients through listening, engagement and teaching.

The experience made me reflect on a book I was recently introduced to that has helped shape me. It’s called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John Mann. If you’re not familiar with it, I strongly recommend you read it and share it. It’s an easy read and a great “way of working” to consider for yourself.

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