2019 has been my third year as a Health, Safety and Environmental consultant, and I would like to reflect on my experiences and lessons learned during this past year. Upon reflection on the work that I have completed for my clients, patterns and themes are apparent which will help me to better understand how I can support my customers in the future.
- Listen – Listen to your customer. This comes in the form of opinions, wants, needs and requirements. Although there are times when customers do not always know what is necessary to address their problem(s), intently listening to them will help in determining an approach and solution to their problem. Listening is a huge part of communication, so there needs to be a well-honed skill to hear the concerns of the customer. Listening is all about the customer.
- Be available – Availability is critical in assisting/supporting a customer. Do not over extend. Regardless of how much I might want to provide services to a customer if I am too busy and do not have any openings in my schedule, I will not take on a new project that I cannot properly support. Additionally, it is crucial to always be prepared to work on other projects that may cause an assignment extension.
- Think big – Thinking big for the customer can help them in many ways. Instead of just thinking how a task can be completed, I consider the entire system and determine if other important areas can be improved through integration, economies of scale or realizing other synergies. I then provide feedback to the customer, letting them know my thoughts on how to improve their organization.
- Be honest with myself and the customer – There are times when the scope of work might entail more resources or schedule then the customer expects. This is the time to ensure all parties have a real and clear understanding of project or job scope. It is better for all stakeholders to come away with the same understanding of project deliverables versus having ambiguous communications in the planning stages of the job, which can create varying degrees of expectations. Although in the scoping phase (hence, ultimately winning the job) it might be difficult to convince the customer about the scope and schedule, it will surely pay dividends at the end of the project if the project is properly scoped and communicated.
- Coaching and mentoring – I always provide coaching and mentoring to the entire team, whether it is to the leadership or the workers. Many times organizations see things from the same perspective and can benefit from insight different from their own. In addition to building a trusting relationship, the team can become more responsive to positive input given by a consultant.
- Lean forward – I give 100% of myself to the customer. I let them see and feel my passion for the work being performed. There are times when an outside resource can provide a boost in morale, which can be contagious to the rest of the department or organization.
- Enjoy the work – I enjoy the work because the customer almost always lets me know how much they appreciate what I do. Additionally, it also makes me feel good knowing I get to use everything I have to improve my customer’s needs.
There are many more patterns and themes then the seven mentioned above. However, the ones mentioned are the first that come to mind when thinking about the work I performed for my customers in 2019. Finally, having critically thought these through, I will focus more now than ever to ensure I deliver these lessons learned to my future customers.