The Most Important Thing I Learned About Consulting Is to Watch Ghostbusters - InformationWeek

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Commentary
5/22/2008
09:35 AM
Neil Raden
Neil Raden
Commentary
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The Most Important Thing I Learned About Consulting Is to Watch Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters is perhaps the single best training film for consultants I've come across. In simple words, they embody all the right stuff for a successful consultant which is, lets face it, a real craft, not just something to do between jobs. With motivational thoughts about teamwork, confidence, authenticity, client management and the projection of competence, these guys have it knocked...

The movie Ghostbusters is perhaps the single best training film for consultants I've come across. In simple words, they embody all the right stuff for a successful consultant which is, lets face it, a real craft, not just something to do between jobs. With motivational thoughts about teamwork, confidence, authenticity, client management and the projection of competence, these guys have it knocked. For instance:

Teamwork: There aren't many engagements where the success of the operation is dependent on just one player. It's important to organize for success and enhance everyone's contribution in a "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" mentality. That special esprit de corps that develops among small groups provides the energy to keep a difficult assignment on track. And, sometimes, teamwork requires splitting the team up. • "We have the tools, we have the talent" • "I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!" • "Let's split up, we can cause more damage that way"Project cool confidence without bravado:

"Generally, you don't see that kind of behavior in a major appliance."

Be authentic when you don't have the answers right away:

"Well, that's something you don't see every day." Client management: An effective consultant has to know how to have power WITH the client, not over the client. One important technique is to let the client know that your expertise is special and in demand. This balances the relationship since clients often feel that paying you puts them in control. Look how skillfully Venkmann gets this point across:

"I don't have to take this kind of abuse from you. I've got hundreds of people waiting to abuse me."

And of course, engagement managers have to understand the paradoxical nature of consulting and always project confidence even when contradicting themselves

"Don't cross the streams" • "We have to cross the streams"

And of course, when all else fails, lie your ass off:

"Ray, when someone asks if you're a god, SAY YES"Ghostbusters is perhaps the single best training film for consultants I've come across. In simple words, they embody all the right stuff for a successful consultant which is, lets face it, a real craft, not just something to do between jobs. With motivational thoughts about teamwork, confidence, authenticity, client management and the projection of competence, these guys have it knocked...

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