UnknownAs you progress through your career as a consultant, you are
periodically growing and changing the nature of your practice.  The most important of these changes are
the ones that allow you to achieve higher levels of positive impact on your

Some consultants seem to effortlessly morph their practices,
peers, content and processes to provide increasing amounts of value, even as
they decrease their labor intensity. 
Others struggle to grow, and suffer as elements of their past continue
to seep in, distracting the consultant and holding them back.

How do you take great leaps forward, shut the door behind
you and thrive?

It comes down to habits and beliefs.  What worked to get us to the first
level of success may not be what it will take to get to the next level.  Which each promotion,  victory or change in target customer,
you are likely to need to read different kinds of books and magazines, develop
trusted relationships with a new peer group or even change the kind of shoes
you wear.

There are five key categories that impact your environment
and mind set:

  1. How you invest in your professional
    development, attire and support
  2. Who your peers are and what communities
    you join
  3. Who your clients are and how they are
    likely to find you
  4. The delivery vehicle of your work
  5. What thought leadership you develop

The answers to these questions need to change over

For example, when you start out, you might travel coach and
bargain hunt for the best airfare (coach, of course) but as CEO of an F500
company, you’d be wasting your time if you focused on travel bargains instead
of focusing on how to maximize value for shareholders.  And you might start off as functional
expert with a very narrow set of skills—as a programmer or designer—but to
leverage your expertise over time, you are likely to spend more time as an
advisor and less time as a pair of (very skilled) arms and legs.

How do you know if it’s time to re-evaluate your
habits?  You probably should rethink
your big picture every year or two. 
Reconsider who you’d consider your peer group, how you want to present
yourself to your peer group and what kind of work best leverages your unique.  And definitely after you are promoted
or change your primary service offerings or customer base, you should take a
moment to reflect on how you’d like to present yourself.

Seeing new opportunities is easier if you’re looking through
the right lens.  As you climb
higher and higher, and explored varied terrain, you’re going to need more than
a point-and-shoot to truly capture the opportunities surrounding you.