Five Keys to Delivering—and Deriving—Consulting Excellence

Business professionals engage in discussion in conference room with glass walls

Over twenty years in consulting (five at PwC and sixteen at Citisoft) has allowed me the privilege of working with a variety of clients and consultants on many types of engagements in the asset management industry. As a longtime Citisoft alum, I like to think our consulting staff brings more than our share to the table but in truth, I’ve been lucky to work with the industry’s best on all sides of an engagement—from vendors to clients to competitors. This breadth of experience has helped me discern what makes a great consultant in practice, but it’s always been a bit hard to describe those nebulous traits that produce results for our clients time and again. Last month however, David Bates, Citisoft managing partner, eloquently conveyed his thoughts on what Citisoft expects in a consultant in our internal newsletter. 

Though we don’t typically share internal communications on our blog, I thought that his article captured perfectly what sets great consultants apart and what we believe our clients deserve. Here are David’s words:

“What it takes to be successful at Citisoft is not unique from what it takes to be successful in top tier consulting. We expect you to match or surpass prestigious firms who demonstrate leadership, excellent client services, delivery discipline, partnership value, accountability and work ethic. We seek to stand above our competitors and to be viewed as a firm who will make our clients, stakeholders and sponsors successful. With that said, there are core abilities that make us successful as consultants and therefore dictate our career path:

  1. Know what consulting is: listen before speaking, attend to detail, think before you speak, prepare before you engage, be confident and have conviction, be adaptable and handle conflict, and leave your ego at the door.
  2. Know our space: study the industry, absorb domains outside your core, see the forest through the trees, be curious, ask GOOD questions, know the vendor market, know the value of our services to clients and commit to them.
  3. Know how to execute: be analytical, think through problems and how to solve them, know the methodology but be adaptable, be organized, communicate well, focus on scope and drive the schedule of work, write deliverables that both look great and have great content.
  4. Know people: read your clients expectations, set your own expectations, understand dealing with different personalities, understand how to deal with threats and people who feel threatened.
  5. Know how to rise above: think strategically, understand leadership, handle complex challenges and curveballs, predict and avoid risks, be a good salesperson, have executive weight, presence, gravitas.

Our client’s expectations on you all are high, as are ours. Now go crush it.”

David’s words resonated with me and I hope with you. We all need reminders of how to navigate the path to excellence and what it means to bring more to the table.