Today, more than ever before, companies are placing emphasis on collaboration in the workplace. Collaboration is a sign of an effective, high-functioning team, and a way to move a company toward its goals. Collaboration is particularly essential to certain roles, including financial consultants.
When on a new assignment, a financial consultant is continuously evaluated for performance. Getting to know the C-suite is a given, but it’s just as important to collaborate with those at the manager level and below. Here’s why.
Know the past to understand the present
As astronomer Carl Sagan famously said, “you have to know the past to understand the present,” and he was right. There’s no better way to know the current state in the organization than to talk to those who were led by the people in your role in the past.
What was done right? What was done wrong? And what are the key challenges and what are the roadblocks preventing the organization from overcoming them? Start by asking questions and really listening to what people from all levels of the organization have to say. You can use that information to build some initial hypotheses about how you will change things for the better.
Get to the truth
All progress begins with the truth. So, you need to come to terms with existing issues before you can make progress toward new goals.
How are processes currently working in an organization? Ignore how things should be happening. Instead, focus on how they’re actually happening – and all of the variations between offices and individuals. The people who can tell you are the ones closest to the work being done in the organization.
Collaborating with manager-level employees and those reporting to them can show you what’s actually occurring in the organization. You’ll learn the strengths and weaknesses of different functions.
Maximize buy-in to change
When a consultant starts a new project, he or she often starts with a plan for the first 90 days. On day one, the clock starts running, so it’s vital to make moves that have a positive impact and signal the key themes of the change agenda.
Meanwhile, it’s a natural human tendency for employees to be resistant to change. When faced with the challenge of these competing motivations, it’s an absolute must to spend time developing a strategy to address the human element of change.
The key to getting buy-in is to get a cross-section of insights during the creation and implementation phases of a strategy. Simply getting leaders to make a ruling and announce it will invariably alienate some people. Instead, collaborate with employees across the hierarchy. All voices should be heard with regard to managing potential new initiatives.
Your strategic course of action is only as effective as your ability to communicate it across the organization. Collaborating with employees at all levels will give you a pipeline to get your message out there. Don’t forget that communication goes both ways. What you can learn from the most entry-level employees in an organization is often as valuable as what you bring to the table.
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