Five Talents that Mark a Great Consultant

Five Talents that Mark a Great Consultant

In today’s fast-paced, demanding, and challenging world of consulting, it takes a great deal of skill and strategy to stand out. Innovation is more important than ever.

The question is – what does it take to set yourself apart in a competitive industry consulting for the Government, for homeland security? What do clients value the most?

Our leaders identified five key skills that highly effective consultants use to achieve results for their clients. While there are many more important ones, these are the five talents that we think make consultants ‘stand out’ and help clients achieve outcomes:

Communication – Projects are only becoming more complex. To understand and empathize with our client’s needs, exceptional communication skills are important to communicate with everyone from agency leaders, to program managers, to Government employees who perform critical mission operations. Consultants must be able to communicate their ideas to clients effectively, inspire innovation, and gain stakeholder buy-in to agency leader’s needs. Communication skills are even more important than technical expertise.

Adaptability and Foresight – With our homeland security clients, we always need to be multiple steps ahead – helping project their future world and getting them ready for the known and unknown challenges. Foresight is absolutely necessary to look outside and ahead. However, without being adaptable, foresight is not as powerful. We need to be able to survey the lay of the land, then adjust accordingly. Homeland security is complex and interdependent, and threats change constantly. As consultants, we need to be vigilant and flexible.

Reliability and Consistency – This means that you will do exactly what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it. Sounds simple, but it’s the number one quality needed to build trust and credibility among your team and your clients.

Knowledge Mastery – To be a truly great consultant, one must constantly learn and seek information. Consultants must learn more quickly than others to solve truly difficult challenges for their clients. They are the knowledge bank that can make the difference in a successful project. A growth mindset helps a consultant dynamically adapt to new projects and problems quickly.

High Tolerance for Ambiguity – A great consultant needs to be comfortable with ambiguity. Every time, in every situation. A consultant must be comfortable working through complex problems with little direction and little context – from a ‘blank sheet of paper’. Tolerance for ambiguity is essential for innovative and out-of-the box solutions. While great methods such as Design Thinking can really accelerate innovation for clients, it is the most powerful when the team is diverse and each member has a high tolerance for ambiguity.

Being a consultant in today’s fast-paced and highly complex world is not easy, but it is very rewarding. By focusing on these key talents and developing one’s skills accordingly, an adaptable, reliable, and learning consultant with a high tolerance for ambiguity can successfully achieve results for their clients.

Blog Consulting

Contributors

* Arc Aspicio |

Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Lynn Ann Casey / Chief Executive Officer
info@arcaspicio.com
703.465.2060

Mr. Roboto: Your Newest Coworker

Mr. Roboto: Your Newest Coworker

Could your next cubemate be a robot? Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX founder, is building our future coworkers and forming a world filled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could “beat us in just about everything,” including our jobs. As Musk attempts to create a real-life iRobot, many advantages and a possible partnership arise with this future. How can the Government and Homeland Security prepare and welcome new technological advancements?

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy

Understanding the types of data available, gaining access to the right data, and making sense of data are daunting tasks for most organizations as they develop a strategy to meet mission demands and enterprise-wide goals. Data is especially challenging for the Government, yet provides the opportunity for insight for leaders as they strategically move their agencies forward.

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

There are few greater feelings than a dog’s unconditional love. And some are finding that a dog’s love can help combat stress at work. Secretary Zinke of the Interior Department announced his intent for "Doggy Days" where he encouraged employees to bring their canine companions to work on designated days. More than 80 dogs arrived for first event and the overjoyed employees immediately scheduled the next.

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Implementing change is not always easy, but it is always necessary. Federal agencies have been working to transform how they acquire and manage Federal information technology (IT). The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in December 2014 has increased visibility into this transformation.Although FITARA enhances the authority and accountability of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in reviewing and approving major IT investment projects, CIOs continue to look for new ways to implement best practices at their agencies.

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Crime, corruption, and violence – particularly involving drug, human, and weapons trafficking – continue to increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are a critical part of this trend and pose a serious and growing threat to homeland security – at our borders and beyond.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at the tip of the spear to combat TCOs. With the context that the first goal in their Vision and Strategy 2020 Strategic Plan is Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CBP is focusing on disrupting TCOs responsible for the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, humans, and guns.

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

For the past few decades, there has been a growing increase in the digital channels available to network with the Federal government. These channels have made it easier for the public to interact and elicit responses from elected officials.These growing interactions have increased expectations for Government to be more transparent and collaborative. From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of State (DOS), Design Thinking transformations have begun to develop and modernize programs to be more human-centered. Agencies and programs beholden to serve the public good should logically adopt a problem-solving mindset that places the individual at the heart of any lasting changes.

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?

Crowdsourcing to Improve Security

Crowdsourcing to Improve Security

Many of us are familiar with the idea of crowdsourcing. Corporations and the Government both use crowdsourcing to generate data, raise awareness campaigns, and produce ideas. So, what if we used crowdsourcing to enhance our security and bridge communication gaps between the Government and American citizens at the same time?

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.