Going Native

Hi there – my name’s Charles Heller and I thought I would share a few experiences of my foray into the professional world of Management Consultancy. If you’re looking into consulting or want an inside view into what it’s really like, then take a look. If you want any more info, have a look at our website www.northhighland.com.

There was a poker tournament at Tower House (our office in Covent Garden) last night but I couldn’t get back for it as I was working at the client site. A shame but not the end of the world as these impromptu get-togethers are a frequent occurrence. We have started taking control of this project and adding value for our client.

There is a phrase that I have picked up in my 5 weeks in consulting, and that is “going native.” “Going native” is when you are brought in by a client to make a difference but you end up working in the same fashion as the client, almost assimilating with their culture and becoming indistinguishable from the team. I think subconsciously the people who you’ve come in to support want you to become part of their team and fall into their way of working because then they have neutralised the potential threat of disruption. Obviously you’ve been brought in by their boss or their boss’ boss to do something differently and have to remember that. I have been very conscious that it would be very easy to get caught in this trap and it has taken a lot of effort to keep a perspective on the project and a line of sight to our overall objective.

We have been steered off course a few times but as I said earlier we have taken control and it feels great to be making a difference. I would love to be able to tell you what I’m doing – but I can’t! I remember in my interview saying “I want to become a consultant because I want to work in an environment interacting with business leaders on a day to day basis; understanding how they operate and influencing the decisions they make”…  or something along those lines. I can’t believe there is another profession where you get the same access to directors/ executives, and their way of working which is exciting but at the same time pretty terrifying. There is nowhere to hide!

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