Consulting Lessons Learned 23: Just working hard isn’t enough

Many aspiring management consultants believe that working incredible long hours is the solution to everything.

You get the impression your project manager is unhappy with your work? Just work a little harder. You want to get an early promotion? Just work a little longer.

Please don’t do that! Surprisingly, it’s often those colleagues working the longest, that also struggle the most.

As a management consultant, you will be expected to manage yourself right from the beginning. An important part of managing yourself is structuring your work, setting clear expectations, and also pushing back to your client or project manager.

If you just work hard, this will cause two problems:

First, it will underline that you are not able to manage yourself.

Second, you will quickly go into autopilot mode, trying to work as quickly as you can. You won’t take enough time to reflect on how you actually work and ways to improve. If you want to get a promotion, the way you work will be much more important than how many tasks you were able to finish within a day.

Don’t get me wrong, consulting is not a 9-to-5 job. Being successful in this highly competitive environment will sometimes require you to work long hours. But make sure to always remember two things: First, consulting is not about working like a machine, but about self-development. Second, try everything you can to achieve a sustainable consulting lifestyle.

Categories: Best practices