EP 024

Why You Should Be Thinking Like a Consultant

In today's episode of Make Others Successful, we're taking you into the mind of a consultant and why adopting this mindset is beneficial for many reasons when it comes to business.

Mitch, Mike, and Emma chat about what separates a good vs. bad consultant, having a sustainability mindset, and the importance of setting priorities and aligning them with the overall goals of a business.

We hope you enjoy episode 24 of the Make Others Successful podcast!

Episode Links
Hosted By
Mitch Herrema
Mike Bodell
Emma Allport, CSM
Produced By
Benjamin Eizenga
Edited By
Eric Veeneman
Music By
Eric Veeneman

Transcript

Mitch (00:06):

Hi everyone. Welcome back to Make Others Successful, a podcast where we share insights, stories, and strategies to help you build a better workplace. I was just thinking earlier today about how we're going to introduce this episode, and I want to take a pause in this moment in time. We've been talking about our internal communication guidebook a little bit in previous episodes. When this episode is released, it will be released, that guidebook will be released. It's just weird to reflect on that. We've been months of a process and we're excited to get that out there. But today we're not talking about internal communication. We're talking about what we're calling the consultant mindset. And the premise of this is the fact that when we work with clients or people that come to us with YouTube questions or office hours, things like that, we look at it through the lens of how might you address a concern at your workplace as a consultant would, and that might not be as natural to someone that hasn't been in a consulting space before. And it's something that we sort of have the curse of knowledge, something that we automatically do without really thinking about it. And so we said, let's talk about that and let's talk about what makes up that consultant mindset and why we suggest using it and what all makes up the approach to addressing problems as a consultant.

Mike (01:39):

So

Mitch (01:40):

We'll see where it goes. We have a couple points here. First is just understanding the mindset. We'll do an overview of that, overcoming limited beliefs about what you might think as someone who hasn't been in this space before. And then effective problem solving skills and navigating the resource challenges as you're trying to be a consultant in your workplace. So let's kick it off with just overviewing a consultant mindset. What do we mean when we say what would a consultant do in this situation? Anyone want to

Mike (02:16):

Tee

Mitch (02:16):

Us up?

Mike (02:16):

I'll take a crack. So for me, one of the most foundational things about the consultant mindset calls out a differentiation between what a bad consultant might be and what a good consultant might be. And that is something like if you are going to get involved in solving a problem, you should be thinking about solving it in a way that allows it to be sustainable and usable without your presence in the future.

Mitch (02:41):

That

Mike (02:41):

Would be a good consultant, a bad consultant to somebody that shows up and says, yes, I can design that solution for you,

Mitch (02:47):

But

Mike (02:47):

You're going to need to pay me for the next 20 years to make sure that it runs good. And so for me, it starts with that always thinking about the future and how you're going to leave this thing when you move on to the next thing, right? Right.

Mitch (03:01):

There's an inherent built in, I'm not going to be

Mike (03:04):

Here. I'm not going to be here. Whereas an employee, they're going to be there for all intents and purposes. If they like their job and they like their boss, they're going to be there for the next 10 years. And so they might have a tendency to think, I'm going to build this and I'm going to own this, and we're just going to run this part of the business out of the spreadsheet that I built for the next

Emma (03:20):

10 years. It'll work because I know how it works. So it doesn't need to be

Mike (03:23):

Scalable. But a consultant comes with a different mindset and says, well, I don't want to run that thing forever. My talents are better used elsewhere, solving the next problem.

Mitch (03:34):

Which yeah, if you're someone listening to this saying, but I like to have that job security and I like to not let anyone else, this episode is probably not for you. This is for someone that wants to build a better workplace and you play a role in that and keep marching that forward.

Emma (03:53):

Yeah, I think my take on it, having been an employee at so many places before this and not necessarily in that consultant role, and now having worked here for almost over a year and being more in that consultant problem solving mode, is that as an employee, and I think we'll get to this in one of our points, you tend to have very limited limiting beliefs. So you start down the path of, well, I think what we need to do to solve our problem is X, y, Z. But then you think of a million reasons why your company can't do that, because you don't think leadership will be on board or you don't think you have enough resources. And so you often end up limiting yourself before you even allow the problem solving brainstorm to happen. So part of getting into the consultant mindset is, okay, what if I didn't think that the leadership wasn't going to get on board? What if I just believed in this idea and let myself plan it out and sketch it out without already putting negative connotations on it from what I know as an employee,

Mitch (04:51):

Right? It's like a constraint driven exercise where you're like, let's pretend this doesn't exist. What would I do if that wasn't a factor? And see if you come up with anything good.

Emma (05:02):

And as third party consultants, we often get the gift of being able to bring that mindset because we don't have all that cursive knowledge or all of that backstory. But as an employee, you can actually create that thought process for yourself within a company. You just have to sort of call it out and speak it out to yourself when you realize it's happening.

Mitch (05:23):

Yeah. Another aspect of the consultant mindset is the ability to look at something objectively. So I've heard David Baker refer to this as when you're inside the jar, you can't read the outside of it. And so when a consultant comes in, they can read the jar immediately and they can tell you exactly what's in that jar and what needs to change. And it is hard to do that when you're on the inside. And so figuring out ways that you can put aside the beliefs that you have and step outside of that, ask yourself, if my friend was in this situation, what would I suggest that they do instead of it being a personal thing? And sometimes that will get you to ask different questions, answer questions differently, and really make better decisions because you're not biased with what already.

Mike (06:16):

When you talk about outside perspective, if you're truly a consultant, we are, you actually have a genuine outside perspective. And one of the values there is we show up and well, I've seen somebody solve that problem 10 other ways. And so there's a benefit there. I don't know how applicable that is to someone who is trying to have a consultant mindset inside the jar, but that's where, to me, something like a cross-functional team

Emma (06:42):

Can

Mike (06:42):

Be beneficial. Well, we do this this way, but maybe it would be helpful to bring in the accounting folks and the HR folks and these other folks or a person from each of those teams to consult with us on how this process connects with them. And then you can get some outside perspective to look at things a different way. And I would say you should seek to do that inside that jar,

Mitch (07:05):

Right? Yeah. And I'll say in sort of my business development role here at Ball, I've heard from quite a few people when I ask them the question, why don't you find someone internally to do this? Why don't you hire someone instead of hire us a consultant? And that typically comes to either lack of time or ability to get someone with that skill in the right place, or it comes to we need a fresh set of eyes. We need someone to come in without the history behind it and really take themselves out of the equation and give an honest piece of feedback and that can people pay for that? It's literally a valuable thing,

Mike (07:46):

And I think we'll talk about it later in this conversation, but one of the things you can do as an employee to gain that edge is to keep yourself up to speed on latest and greatest and how other things are happening in the same industry and things like that. You actually have to do a little bit of homework in order to be valuable in that way.

Emma (08:05):

I think as companies grow as well, you're sort of starting to touch on the idea of diversity of background, diversity of thought within a team. And when you're hiring on new team members, that's almost one of the best times to get feedback of how do you think this process is working? Because lots of times those new members will see it from that outside perspective if they've only been at the company a few weeks or months and they might see something that someone who's been in that division or that team for five years doesn't see. So see if you can even capitalize on fresh perspective from someone who really does have a fresh perspective, including those feedback loops can help get the rest of the team in that mindset.

Mitch (08:44):

Yeah, it's been really interesting to engage with those newer team members. They literally have a fresh set of eyes.

Emma (08:50):

What

Mitch (08:50):

Did you struggle with? What are things that you love that you would be upset if they went away? And so if you aren't new and you're trying to solve something, maybe target those types of people as inputs to your problem solving process so that you can get that somewhat objective perspective as an input to your process.

Emma (09:10):

And we even do this with clients. When we are working with clients, sometimes we actually interview the newer folks first and not necessarily the people who've been there for years because we know that the newer folks are going to, it's fresh in their mind. They're going to tell us exactly what they struggled with.

Mitch (09:24):

So there's one other aspect to the consulting mindset that I think we haven't covered yet, and that is understanding why, understanding the business driver behind why someone might be asking for something. And so I'm talking in the context of let's say you become a citizen developer and you get really good at building tools or apps or something like that, and suddenly you become the go-to person for this stuff and now people keep asking you to make something for them. And for one, it creates a situation where you're bringing pretty much just hands and you're an order taker. And that doesn't usually lead to good solutions. And so in order to make that better, we, you've heard us say it before, but ask why, start digging into the reason behind what they're asking and that will help you uncover what does success look like? What does a catastrophic failure look like? And so you can start to tie what you're doing to those things instead of just keeping blinders on and doing something in a box and not achieving those outcomes. Because as a consultant, it is not our job to do something for someone. It's to help them achieve a goal.

(10:42):

And so if we are not doing that, we are failing. And so if you want to don the consultant mindset, you need to help people achieve their goals, not just do something for someone.

Mike (10:53):

You can't truly understand what the best outcome might be without understanding why. The other thing that you get as an added benefit from that is through the process of learning why you'll become a better partner for the people you're working for or working with because you'll understand their motivations. And oftentimes that's all it takes to gain trust and all of those things that you need to open things up and actually

Mitch (11:20):

Something great and it let you see other avenues to help them achieve that goal. So if you know the technology, you know how to configure things and they think they need something, but you see a different way in order to get that done, ask 'em. Don't just focus on the one thing that they're asking. So many other factors can come into play and making success happen. Alright, let's head to our next section, which Emma sort of alluded to already, which is overcoming limiting beliefs and biases. So how you overcome that with something where, how leadership works, the history, how things go and how do we set that aside and try to make progress?

Emma (12:06):

I liked the question that you posed already of if it were a friend of yours, what would you tell them to do?

Mitch (12:13):

I

Emma (12:13):

Find that trick works really well for me when we're thinking about are you a glass half full person? Are you glass half empty? I probably tend to be more a realist, and if I know I asked for something or I had created a solution and it didn't work out because of many different factors, then I'm less likely to do it again. But if I take myself kind of out of that equation in my head, I think that's a really good practical exercise if you will, of okay, if I were to have a mentee who is coming to me and this was happening on their team, what would I tell them to do?

Mitch (12:46):

Pretend

Emma (12:46):

That's you,

Mitch (12:47):

And

Emma (12:47):

That helps you get outside of the mindset of, well, two years ago we tried this and we didn't have the budget. So it allows you to have a bigger picture mindset.

Mitch (12:58):

I've seen some consultants who have not been the wise guru who has the answers for everything and do an effective job of helping you understand what options you have

Emma (13:10):

And

Mitch (13:10):

You understand what the pros and cons of things are, and mostly just help you talk through it so that you can decide for yourself because if someone else is deciding for you, it's probably not going to work.

Emma (13:23):

I do think half the battle with this, we've talked about this in other podcasts, is a lot of limiting beliefs come from you don't feel like leadership will support you or you don't think you'll have the budget, you don't think you'll have the resources, but the other half of it is whatever the problem is that you're trying to solve, have you fully sized that and have you fully, and lots of times third party consultants can have. It's an easier perspective I guess to be able to look at a problem and say, okay, this is how much time or money it's costing you, but that's also a good exercise to start with. Or have I sized the issue, the pain point, start there and then flip it on its head of, okay, how much could we spend to fix this?

Mitch (14:03):

Yeah, anytime someone comes to us with an ask, we again start to understand why. And part of that is saying, is there a business driver? Are you trying to grow by two times? Are you trying to be more efficient and spend half the time? Are you trying to onboard new employees because you're trying to grow and you need to streamline an onboarding process? I usually throw those over the wall to someone so that they can maybe get outside of exactly what they're asking for and connect those dots for me. And I just had a recent lead say, Hey, if you can double our business, I'm all for it. Let me know if you can, I don't know if you would be able to, but that all of a sudden got a bunch of gears spinning and became really interesting because that's something that they're interested in and maybe we can contribute to that. So hopefully the work that we would do for them connects those dots.

Mike (14:59):

I think even as a consultant, which I've been for 20 years now, you show up to even the conversations with either potential new clients or somebody who's got a problem for you to solve with kind a preconceived notion about how it might go because you're like, well,

Emma (15:14):

You're already playing it out in that

Mike (15:15):

They're not going to spend that much money on this thing. It can't be that valuable. But getting at the why will uncover the value and it'll cause everybody in the conversation to think about it a different way. And so even I have to come to every conversation with, okay, I'm going to ask a bunch of questions and I'm going to put questions in their mind

Mitch (15:35):

That

Mike (15:35):

Maybe they haven't thought of.

Mitch (15:37):

It has been hard. We are solution, we know how it all works, we know the intricacies, and as soon as someone brings up a problem, our mind is spinning just wanting to solve it, problem solvers. And so it has been a skill that we have been developing over time is hit the brakes on that. Just be really good at asking questions. Let them do all the talking. Make sure you understand very deeply what they're trying to do before you start to even suggest what the solution might be.

Emma (16:09):

And then asking clarifying questions of not just latching onto one thing one person said or even one thing maybe you said it's like ask yourself, okay, but why is that an issue and why is that? And try to drill down deeper and deeper with yourself or with your own team before you just say, Mitch was saying before you go to that person and say, this is what we need. It's like, this is the problem we're trying to solve.

Mitch (16:31):

And I find it's even difficult to say, we're looking for help on something. I need to be intentional about not saying, here's exactly what we need and you're the person I need to play that role and articulate our why, because then that just shortcuts the whole conversation and helps them understand quickly. And

Emma (16:52):

I think ultimately what we're trying to get at is that you remove a lot of pain from all of these conversations and just stress and anxiety. I mean, looking back on problems I tried to solve for more of an employee mindset at other organizations. I feel like had I started with some of these exercises, started with some of the questions, started drilling down on the why I could have avoided many months if not years of not getting to a solution or not sitting there thinking, well, it's never going to happen, and just getting in that negative spin. Yeah, you can avoid that if you start thinking like a consultant.

Mike (17:27):

What I want to know is how many of us have employed these techniques or methods in our personal life with our relationships at home?

Mitch (17:33):

My wife hates when I turn on consultant. Oh my gosh, no. She's like, stop talking to me that way. And I try not to, but it's almost like I put on a personality when I'm talking to a client or something.

Mike (17:48):

I use it with my teenage kids

Mitch (17:50):

And

Mike (17:50):

They're not wise to it yet, and it's quite effective.

Mitch (17:53):

I love that

Mike (17:55):

I asked them to, for example, set some goals for the next year, long-term goals, what are those going to be? And so they picked a couple. I'm like, well, why do you want to do that? And so we got to a higher goal.

Mitch (18:05):

It

Mike (18:05):

Was fun. I

Mitch (18:06):

Love that. I think we're slowly tiptoeing into the next section, which is solving problems effectively and what skills you should use in order to solve them effectively. We've kind of been talking about how you should analyze them before you dive into solutions, but outside of asking why are there any tactical strategies that we would suggest someone take to have a more analytical approach?

Mike (18:33):

So a couple of things that come to mind for me in terms of strategies, really trying to figure out how to solve the problem or navigate the conversation about the problem. One of those things is it's okay if you don't know everything. Communicate that. If somebody asks a question and you don't know the answer, tell 'em you don't know, but I'll find out and then go find out.

Mitch (18:54):

Do not BSS an answer. You'll get burned.

Mike (18:58):

That's a very important one. And then the other one that I stressed to anybody who's coming into my space doing the same type of work that I do would be to communicate early and often about expectations. You don't wait until the last minute to let somebody know that something bad is going to happen. If you feel like the task ahead of you is bigger than what everybody believes it to be, make it known. Set expectations accordingly.

Mitch (19:24):

It's not our job to have a veil. Everything happening behind the veil going on crazy and suddenly at any moment, anything could blow up. The people outside of that need to understand what some risks are and what's going on.

Mike (19:38):

A good consulting relationship is all about partnership. It's not throwing requirements over a fence and getting something back.

Mitch (19:44):

These things are things that we have to teach our people because not everyone that we hire comes from a consulting background. And so things like saying, I don't know the answer to our question, Google's one of our best friends, we're going to get out of a meeting. We want to understand how to solve that problem. Like I said, we're problem solvers. We're going to go find out. And being transparent about that is super valuable, and it's something that is not natural to someone probably when they're walking in the door as a new employee.

Mike (20:17):

No, it can be very intimidating. I remember the first professional consulting experience that I had. I was amongst giants in my field and it was like, wow, I'm not up to par here. This is a real problem. I can't believe they hired me. And that's a very real thing. But if you have a good manager in that environment, you quickly learn that if you're honest and transparent,

Mitch (20:39):

They'll

Mike (20:39):

Give you more responsibility and you work hard and you get to that, you earn that. You build that trust, that knowledge, all of those things kind of with time and experience.

Emma (20:49):

One thing you touched on, Mike, you talked about expectations, and I almost want to wrap that in with roles and responsibilities. So when you're thinking about problem solving and you're thinking about approaching, being tasked maybe with, Hey, we had someone come to office hours a few weeks ago and said, I've been tasked with making all of our internal communication better. That's a big task. But at the same time, are they empowered to experiment, make decisions, and actually carry things out within that problem solving exercise that they're trying to do? I would encourage leadership, especially of smaller teams to really be loosening control and saying, Hey, I want you to dive into this. Maybe report. Give us some analytics on what you're finding in the data, but ultimately go experiment, have some flexibility around problem solving. I think that's one of the key parts of consultants get to have that flexibility because we get to interview, we get to talk to people, we get to sort of play around. It's bringing that into whatever the culture is of the company. And if you're the employee there, that is sort of a cultural change and you may need to get on that, but if you can get that, it makes the problem solving way more effective.

Mike (21:59):

It's about making space for creativity

Emma (22:01):

Really. Yes,

Mike (22:02):

And whenever we evaluate people that we bring onto our team, we almost always look more at the quality of character of the individual as opposed to their skillsets and expertise because the skills can be taught and learned, and if they have great character and they are willing to work hard than it's very easy to provide that creative space like, Hey, just go figure it out. I trust you. Even if you make a mistake, I know you're going to learn from it and it'll be better the next time. So that's all good, and it makes it very easy to work with those folks.

Emma (22:34):

So the consultant mindset in my mind is very close to an experimental mindset where you have a bit of a leash, so you are able to experiment and try things out and then be able to prove, Hey, that actually went really well. Let's do more of that. Or what did we learn from it? Yeah, what did we learn? Not what went wrong.

Mitch (22:50):

I do have a couple tactical ways that I've used in the past. I actually wrote a blog about it recently, which is aligning change to your business goals. And one of those ways is we've talked about it quite a bit now, is asking why, and the exercise is called abstraction layers where you keep asking why to dig deeper and deeper and deeper.

Mike (23:10):

That's the one that you use on your wife that she doesn't like, right?

Mitch (23:13):

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that can get a bit meta and can be really effective. Another one is understanding the audiences involved with whatever solution you're trying to create. So understanding how certain groups of people feel about the problem that you're trying to solve, maybe understand what they're doing because of it, some action that they're taking. Like say, employees don't feel heard, and so they're leaving the company and you want to understand what transformation this person wants to happen. They want their employees to feel heard and feel in the loop so that they're committed and actually want to bring others along and hire more people. Quick example, but understanding where someone wants to take a group of people from and laying that out for all the groups of people that you want to affect. And then it's your job as the consultant to see the common threads throughout those audiences and create solutions.

(24:10):

The other one is kind of what you were talking about is just freeform. I came up with this on a whim in a conference room of outlining problem, solution and measurement. So identify the problem, state it clearly, what could potential solutions be? Let's just throw ideas up there, and then measurement, how would we actually measure the improvement of that thing so that when you solve it, you want to know if it's working. So having a way to measure that is important. And then just going down the list of problems, and again, trying to see common threads and identify solutions. So those are very tactical ways. I do have a blog. Maybe we'll put it in the show notes.

Mike (24:51):

I like that last one a lot. It's a easily repeatable pattern, easy to

Emma (24:55):

Remember, and it sounds so simple, but it actually teases out a lot when you actually go to do it.

Mitch (25:00):

Yeah, it does. It forces that creative thought because it's a blank space that you have to fill in. How would we actually solve employees not feeling heard?

Emma (25:10):

Here's a question that's just a sideline question for the two of you. So let's say you're an employee. I'm just thinking about to previous experiences I've had, and I feel there is an issue. Let's say employees don't feel heard. My team's not doing well, people are leaving, and I bring it to the leader and I say, this is the problem. And the leader's response is, well, I think it's just those employees had issues. It's just the people. We just need to get rid of. All the people, hire all new people. What's your advice to that? Employee leave. Leave the company.

Mitch (25:38):

Oh, gosh.

Emma (25:38):

B, try to put on that consultant mindset. What would you tell an employee to do when there is a lot of rigidity in the leadership?

Mitch (25:47):

Yeah, this is getting meta like, okay, I want to understand

Emma (25:52):

Why

Mitch (25:53):

You feel that way about that. If you feel like you're never going to be able to change that leadership. Sometimes there is a breaking point where it's not going to change, and so you have to disconnect and go a different way. But you can also say, I want to treat this as my project. I do believe in these people. I feel like I have an influence with this group of leadership, and I feel like if I lead from where I am, I'll plug Seth Godin's tribe's book.

Emma (26:21):

It's

Mitch (26:21):

Awesome. Just inspiring people to look at where they are in an organization and feel empowered to lead, even if it's not something that is ordained from leadership. And so doing that can be really powerful and serve people really well, but ultimately that's going to be up to the person of whether or not they want to stay. There's not going to be a one hit wonder of an answer.

Emma (26:43):

Well, and I mean, that was my experience years ago at a different organization, and I think ultimately that is the best advice of lead where you're at, because I can say from experience, I was able to move the needle. If you can adopt that consultant mindset, map up the problem and then start with little small changes that you can control.

Mitch (27:00):

Yep. I did it here, Mike. It too. Yeah,

Emma (27:03):

I think a lot of us have that.

Mitch (27:04):

I was annoying.

Mike (27:05):

I

Mitch (27:06):

Still am annoying

Mike (27:06):

Still.

Mitch (27:07):

Yeah, but

Emma (27:09):

You made small tweaks and then built on that. Yeah.

Mitch (27:12):

I'm proud of creating so many problems here that need to get solved that make us better, that just create little spinoff systems like our marketing stuff and our YouTube channel. It all started from let's just have this idea and try it and see how it goes. But yeah, it was very much

Mike (27:30):

A lot of experimentation.

Mitch (27:31):

Yes, yes.

Mike (27:32):

And of pain. A lot of it was very uncomfortable.

Mitch (27:36):

Yeah, really. We have to schedule 60 minutes to come record a podcast. I'm so busy.

Mike (27:41):

Right? Right.

Mitch (27:42):

Yep.

Mike (27:42):

Yeah. But it's been hugely

Emma (27:44):

Beneficial.

Mike (27:45):

It's been hugely beneficial. I was just going to ask one more question. Did you realize that your four-year-old was just being a great consultant by asking why? Why?

Mitch (27:55):

Yeah, why? Yeah, it that's so insightful. There is a feeling of wonder that comes from being a small child that you sort of lose as you grow older. I

Mike (28:06):

Just connected that because a whole phase of life where that's all you do is ask why.

Emma (28:10):

And then when

Mike (28:11):

You grow out of it,

Mitch (28:12):

If they don't have very many answers

Emma (28:13):

Though, when they ask enough times, you find yourself going, well, why do you think?

Mitch (28:17):

And

Emma (28:17):

Then they become the consultant

Mitch (28:20):

That reminds me of a bluey episode where they're bingo and blue are asking why to their mom. And she says something like, just because that's the way it is, or something like that, and they're so ready to say that's not and answer why, and it's sometimes a game.

Mike (28:36):

Isn't that interesting though that just because that's the way it is speaks to that limiting bias,

Mitch (28:40):

Right?

Emma (28:41):

Love that. We got bluey in the episode.

Mitch (28:44):

Bluey is the best.

Emma (28:45):

I love

Mitch (28:45):

Bluey. Alright, let's head down to our final segment here, which is navigating internal resource challenges. So everything that we've sort of been saying you should do takes time and effort, and some people might look at us and say, are you kidding? I don't have time to stop and ask why and do these discoveries and how do we empower them to give themselves a little bit of elbow room to be more strategic and get out of the minutiae of do

Mike (29:18):

Well? I think the first thing that I would say is it is very helpful if you can lead by painting a vision of what could be. Get people excited about it. If they don't think that there's a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow, it's not going to go anywhere. So that's part of it. So probably the reason they're talking to you is because they think there is a better brighter future. And so if you can help to paint that and cast that vision, that will go a long way. Right?

Mitch (29:42):

Yeah.

Mike (29:42):

You got to get that.

Mitch (29:44):

Yeah. Yeah. That's a tactic with you. Mike needs to see what

Mike (29:49):

The pot thing

Mitch (29:50):

Is going to be. Yes. And then he's all about it.

Mike (29:53):

Yep.

Mitch (29:53):

Yep.

Emma (29:54):

I think the internal motivation too, paint that pot of gold for yourself as well before you obviously are trying to get the team on board. So have you really thought through how this is going to affect your role or your team or your piece of it and what you are willing to do? And in some cases, I mean, I don't know how else to say the practical side of things. I know what it's like to work the full-time job and then have these extra bonus ideas, and sometimes you do have to work on it in your own time, but if you can convince yourself, not even convince yourself, but prove to yourself that a little upfront work will pay off in the long run for just

Mike (30:28):

A way

Emma (30:28):

Better work life. I've found motivation in that, and I found actually being excited to work on some of these extra projects, if you'd call them that.

Mike (30:38):

Yeah,

Mitch (30:38):

Yeah. No, that's good. I think the thing that comes to my mind is, again, it sounds so stupid simple, but set priorities.

(30:49):

If you understand again, the reason why someone wants something done and you understand that this is an important problem and you line that up with all the rest of your roles and responsibilities, some things might fall off. And I was actually talking to Emma about this earlier and we want to keep doing more webinars and it sounds like a lot to do, but it's a priority. So what I say is we're going to put that at a certain place on the totem pole, and if things fall off and we miss on things that points out, okay, we need some extra help in those areas. But it doesn't happen unless we set a priority on those important things. And so as a consultant mindset, you should consider it a high priority to understand the reasons why someone's doing what they're doing.

Mike (31:37):

I think the other thing that I would add to that is if you're aligning priorities and putting things in order of priority, so long as you know that one of those little priorities does align to some final real beautiful goal, that pot of gold and you can make a little bit of progress towards it, even if those things are small, there will be joy and you'll do the next one and the next one and the next one and so will everybody else. And so I think that's key. If you list those priorities and they're not in some way aligned to that brighter future, then nobody's going to

Mitch (32:09):

Participate. Yes. Which an example, all of our blog posts I pushed us to, someone has an idea, I don't care about your idea until you can articulate why it matters to someone that might be reading that blog post.

Mike (32:23):

That

Mitch (32:24):

Needs to be front and center, otherwise we're just spouting information. We want to share insights and help people. And so hopefully you feel that for any of you that might've read one of our blogs, but each one of those on our end is going to have a clearly articulated why.

Mike (32:42):

Yeah. I think if you do all of those things, the people involved are going to fall in and be energized and get you there. Right? That's not to say that you might not have a sizable effort that needs additional hands and maybe you hire or look outside or something like that, but I think you first need to get all of those priorities aligned and then you can go,

Emma (33:02):

I can't take credit for this idea. This is from Vanessa Van Edwards who was a speaker at a conference we went to a year ago. She talks about the difference between a vitamin idea and a painkiller idea. And a vitamin idea is something that's preventative in nature. It will bring happiness, health, and joy in the future, which lots of times these solutions do feel that way. A painkiller on the other hand, is a immediate solution to an urgent need. And so if you can create your vitamin ideas to look as if it's a painkiller idea, you're actually a lot more likely to get people on board because if you're trying to prioritize something, people will jump on if it needs to be more urgent towards a pain point. So when you're looking at solutioning, try to think through, is this a vitamin idea? Is this a painkiller idea? And how can I present it in a way that will show that it's going to be an urgent need? I like that idea. I'm someone, I won't miss a painkiller if I'm in pain, but I probably will forget to take my vitamins. So that's a good metaphor to keep in mind. Yeah.

Mitch (34:01):

It's all about your frame of reference. It's how you share that situation is important for people to be inspired. For sure. I do want to maybe close this with that in mind. It's not necessarily your job to persuade someone, right?

Emma (34:16):

That's a good thought.

Mitch (34:17):

You can't convince someone of something that they don't believe. You can give them all of the tools and all of the awareness, but then ultimately it's going to be up to them. And so it brings me back to your like, what if leadership just doesn't want to change? They might not. All you can do is help make people aware and share your perspective, and hopefully people see the good in that and take it. So try to make it look like a painkiller and hope that people want to pop that pill.

Emma (34:49):

There you go.

Mitch (34:50):

Alright, any closing thoughts for us today?

Emma (34:53):

Yeah, I would just say oftentimes smaller businesses, you don't have the budget to hire a team of consultants, but you don't need to do that. You can be the consultant within your team and I would encourage you to actually play through some of these exercises, get a whiteboard, get a piece of paper, and that's all you really need to get started. I definitely have seen the benefits in my own work life of thinking like a consultant, so I'd encourage you to try it.

Mike (35:18):

Cool.

Mitch (35:19):

With that said, go

Mike (35:21):

Do good.

Mitch (35:22):

Be consultants. Appreciate you listening. Thanks everyone for the time to chat today.

Mike (35:27):

Thanks, Mitch. Hey, thanks for joining us today. If you haven't already subscribed

Mitch (35:32):

To our show on

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Mitch (35:35):

To date

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Episodes. This podcast is hosted by the team members of Bulb Digital and special thanks to Eric Veneman for our music tracks and producing this episode. If you have any questions for us, head to make others successful.com and you can get in touch with us there. You'll also find a lot of blogs and videos and content that will help you modernize your workplace and get the most out of Office 365. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you next time.

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