How to Become an Authority as a Consultant?

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How to Become an Authority as a Consultant?
Jasmin Mesic, Student (University), Netherlands

I am currently researching the development of a model which maps the process of becoming an authority in some chosen field of expertise (focused on business management).
The model is focused on business/management consultants who wish to further develop their skills with the final goal of becoming a recognized authority in their field.
I was wondering if there are models which touch upon the topic or focus on personal development which might be similar. I am open to suggestions. Any feedback is welcome.

Consultant? Specialize!
Roy Rossini, Business Consultant, United States
Hi Jasmin,
I don't mean to be glib. I've been a management consultant for nearly 30 years. From productivity to business transformation, as a program manager. The only road map or model is to find your niche and be the best at it. Specialize. Whether it be OCM or Process Improvement. Be that expert and always look to sharpen your saw.
As my Uncle once said, who is a financially successful professional, find what you like to do and be the best at it. I find that having so much in my bag of tricks and so many varied successful projects will only serve to confuse the client and worse could eventually confuse one's purpose.
Be able to answer the question of who you are and what you do. Best of luck to you Jasmin.

How to Become an Authority? Practice and Find a Mentor
Jim Johnstone, Consultant, United States
So to amplify on Roy's comments, How do you go about "being the best at it"?
The answer is practice. According to author Malcolm Gladwell, you will have to amass about 10,000 hours of practice before you become really good at something. You will be lucky to get 1000 hrs a year of practice in a consulting job so it may take 10 years to get really good!
Prior to and during those 10 years you will need to be learning the fundamental principles of your profession.
During your development you will need coaching and guidance on what you are doing right and wrong and you may need specific guided practice in areas where you are weak.
You will make a lot of mistakes and may not be able to recognize them at first so having a mentor will be a key factor in your development.
As you get better you will be able to develop your skills on your own because you can recognize what is working and what isn't.
Eventually you can focus your marketing efforts on convincing others of your authority.

Becoming an Authority as Consultant: Passion and Conviction
Rajappa Prakasam, Consultant, Saudi Arabia
Being the best in a chosen field is the only answer to become an authority in the long run. In my past 30 years of experience I realised what really makes the difference, apart from being the best is, real passion and strong professional belief in what you are doing.
Refuse doing/suggesting things you do not believe in even at the cost of losing a client. Have the courage of conviction. Moral and ethical values will make you stand apart from the rest. All the very best, Jasmin.

How to Become an Authority
Roy Rossini, Business Consultant, United States
I very much concur with @Jim. You can tell by his added dynamic of our profession that he's been around and I suspect he's on top of his game. By the way, did I mention that my Uncle made cabinetry, a very tangible product, though our profession is mainly tactical, it too is tangible.
As one of my favorite clients once said to me "it's not what you pay it's what you get." When we offer an ROI / VOI, that's real. To do that as an internal employee, with all the politics, versus an external objective consultant gives you a distinct advantage. I'm speaking as a management consultant.

From Novice to Expert
Edward Chappy, Consultant, Jordan
Jasmin, you might want to look at the book "From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice" by Patricia Banner first published in 1984 and a later edition in 2000. Although it applies to nursing I have used the concepts presented by Banner to help others understand life-long learning, the need for mentoring, and awareness of where you are on your career path.

Suggested Model to Be an Authority of a Field of Expertise
S.Karthi, Management Consultant, Brunei Darussalam
I am not aware of any existing specific model that maps the processes leading to become an authority in a chosen field of expertise.
However, in my opinion the following process model can be something that I will consider in such a career plan to become an authority of a field:
Individual ⇒ Academic qualification ⇒ Experience ⇒ Skills ⇒ Field/Subject Specialization ⇒ Coaching/Consultation ⇒ Innovation on field/subject ⇒ Publish papers / books ⇒ Recognition by field/subject specialists ⇒ Awards/Acclamations ⇒ Become Field/Subject Authority.

How to Become an Authority as a Consultant
Zeb O. WATURUOCHA, Management Consultant, India
I go with @S.Karthi, because it is possible to be an authority rather than being the best. Knowing it and knowing it well both in theory and practice, supported by good education, proven skills and field realities, having solid support group are quite important.
In my more that 20 years in the field of consultancy, I pride myself for getting more than 80% of assignments on references and this makes me conclude that I am an authority in the field that I am chosen for, be it in personal effectiveness, group dynamics or organisational development.

Visibility and Trust
Rakesh Gudur, Strategy Consultant, India
I agree with @S.Karthi too. I think he gave the model. First, the passion. Take for example the successful sports people.
By presenting ideas in bigger forums, helping those to drive to conclusions would gain visibility and trust. Take an incremental approach to your subject area, improve continuously. We can draw from sports persons on how to train, keep improving and fight to be the best.

Sapiential Authority as a Consultant
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom
I can only reaffirm Roy Rossini's view. I remember from business school that there was something called Sapiential Authority, that related to accepted authority through wisdom.
From consulting for many years I would say that you have to 'earn' respect and then you earn a kind of authority. That then facilitates your work with that organisation and especially the people. This applies to both unions, all levels of staff, as well as to 'the management'.

Best Consulting Model: Develop your Own Brand
MabuZayed, Business Consultant, United States
Greetings all, if one borrows from the world of sports, we can say what makes Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan the best was a mix of potential and skills that were transformed through experience to competitive edge that few can match.
In the world of consulting as well as others it is not a clear cut science nor is it a clear cut experience; it is indeed a mix of the two.
I agree with my colleagues above, The best model is to develop your own brand and deliver in a unique way that is YOU. Such a model will have key components such as good education, right mix of skills, better utilization of knowledge and skills one may have with requirements of the particular assignment you have.
In a nutshell: the best model is one that integrates and balances cognitive and experiential qualities/competencies.

Research Design for Expert Model Project
Donna J. Dennis, Consultant, United States
I think you have chosen a fascinating topic and appreciate the 10,000 hours, academic credentials etc. approach to develop a model.
I think another approach to find the "model" is to use a Delphi approach and interview several experts and see if you can discover the model from their journeys.
It seems to me like one dilemma will be defining "expert"...
Is Marshall Goldsmith an expert in coaching and talent management, Kirkpatrick in training evaluation or are many of the practicing consultants who have earned respect and a good living through consulting "experts"?
I love your topic and think it will be very interesting to work through. Good luck!

Expert Model Strategy: Contact Gurus
Moses Nyamasoka, Strategy Consultant, Zimbabwe
You have raised a quite interesting subject... All the suggestions raised by colleagues above boil down to tact and skill in developing your model which needs you to understudy and elicit information from experts in the area of your choice.
For my area, I made sure that I contacted gurus in the respective areas. What they do is to give you the basic principles or basic tools of the trade then you enrich yourself around those principles and also attend their seminars and conferences. By so doing, you are building your capacity.
Blue Ocean Strategy is another book that can help if you really want to build your brand in your chosen area.
But experience is the best mentor. Wish you the best in your effort, Jasmin.

Consider Project Management Models
Leonardo Santos Magalhaes, Business Consultant, Brazil
I agree with @Donna and many of the other reactions and Iīd like to help with some works. Project Mamagement Institute has published the Project Management Competency Development (PMCD) Framework. The International Project Management Association has its Competence Baseline with The Eye of Competence that is interesting as well. Hope it helps you with some drives.

SQ, EQ and IQ: the Foundation for Authority
Irrespective of your field of concern and apart from being well informed and practiced in your expertise as proposed by many before me, I believe that it is imperative to be high in SQ & well balanced in EQ/IQ, to be able to master & communicate effectively. Thus, these three ingredients would form the foundation of any model; arming you with the needed Authority in your Expertise.

Growth Stages of Authority as a Consultant
M Banville, HR Consultant, Canada
In all your comments I read about mentoring and consulting... personnally, I strongly believe in the following cascade of expertise:
#1 Academic - acquiring knowledge
#2 Experience - acquiring know how
#3 Counseling/consulting - sharing knowhow
#4 Mentoring. But mentoring is still about sharing expertise and giving advices.
This is why my #5 is about coaching. When an expert starts coaching others, helping them to find their own solutions instead of giving the answers, he shows a real image of an expert being on the top of his science. To me, authority goes with coaching attitude...

On Becoming an Authority in Consulting
Patrick Mulvey, Management Consultant, United States
Suggest you investigate the writings of Alan Weiss, who has published over 40 books on the subject of excellence in consulting.
Beyond developing original and value-added content, Dr. Weiss asserts that one must become an "Object of Interest". Only then may you be recognized for your work. Check out his books or his consulting network. Good luck.

Elements to Become an Authority as a Consultant
jesus arguelles, Management Consultant, United States
Iím not sure that there is a systematic and standardized process that leads and guarantees that a management advisor becomes Ďa recognized expert' since that label is reserved for what your market/clients think. Professional peers contribute to validating the 'guru' title along with your market. So, I concur with the above elements but need to add:
1. The need to have a strong personal/client fit leading to being trustworthy
2. Combining smartly the art and science of business management
3. An aggressive and sustainable branding effortóboth by self and media--where others recognize and champion your work
4. Have a high multi-cultural quotient/cultural fluency given the cultural/ethnic diversity of our nation and the foreign places we travel to perform our engagements.

Building Authority as a Consultant
jose ubiratan lopes do nascimento, Coach, Brazil
We could talk about success stories but:
1st Identify what your dream is and what you enjoy doing
2nd Seek and study all theories inside and outside of the subject under review
3rd Practice, knowing that everything changes everything transforms.

Learn, Change, Experiment, Execute, Master
ramesh, Entrepreneur, India
You must learn quickly, sense the change, lots of experiments to find new paths, execute the learnings on live projects effectively.. Be the master authority in your industry...

Image and Exposure as an Authority
Ian Stern, Business Consultant, India
I agree with most of the comments on being very good at what you do, finding a niche & continuously developing your talent.
However, that being said, I feel that in such an intensely competitive field such as Business Consulting, you need to rise above the crowd. As an authority figure you don't necessarily have to be the best (who has all the info to judge this, in any case?)
What is important is that you are perceived to be 'an authority' in your niche area. Which brings me to IMAGE and EXPOSURE:
- The image you cultivate for yourself (eg personal style, work assignments, marketing material and the message you have to deliver) all really count big time!
- Exposure is the 2nd area that helps creates you as an authority. Publishing - writing a book is a sure fire way to build high credibility. A strong web presence is helpful too. Speaking at large important events is essential. Finally networking with influential people helps too.
Building a model around these would be my method.

Mastering an Area
Jimmy Roberto Robles Donoso, Management Consultant, Ecuador
It's all about practicing, practicing and practicing. As a phrase one day I read in a book from author Braulio Perez Marcio: "Mastering is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration".

Gaining Authority in Consulting
JOSEPH NSOZA, Business Consultant, Tanzania
There is no fixed time for breast feeding. The situation, experience, skillls, academic qualification, specialization and innovation are essential ingredients for becoming an authority in consulting. It is the proper combination of the above that is likely to result in the authority over time.

Business Consultancy Guru
Nyekete Douglas, Financial Consultant, Zimbabwe
One can only become a guru in the field of business management if one fully understands the macro and micro environment the business is operating in. The models to be designed should centeralise on the 7S model by Mckinesy. You also need to assist serveral businesses in different industries so that you gain wide experience. Again be a wide reader, with a wide social network.


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