How to Capitalize on Your Consulting Talents

One of the huge perks of independent consulting is that you can operate from anywhere. Even if you’re steering a sizable boutique, it’s fairly easy to jaunt off to Italy or India or Indiana for a month.

The indisputably best location for you has nothing to do with geography, though. It’s a place I call Genius Heights. Trust me, you want to go there.

A while back we explored why you want your consulting firm to live at the intersection of your innate genius and a burning, market need. (Read about that intersection here.)

Your innate genius is interesting to ponder.

You’re pretty good at most tasks. Analyzing data, creating presentations, dunking donuts. Not fantabulous, but you’re not terrible. When you tackle those activities you’re living in Mediocre Meadows—a nondescript land where nothing of note happens.

Of course, there are some tasks you just shouldn’t volunteer for because they’re not your cup of tequila. Reviewing legal documents or writing html code or reasoning with teenagers. Engaging in that stuff is a trip to Bozo Valley.

Finally, you can highlight a few activities where your talent soars far above average mortals. You kick your innate genius into gear and zoom up to Genius Heights. Every hour up there captivates you because you’re doing what you love and what comes naturally to you.

Fortunately, everyone’s topology is different. Where you’re a bozo, someone else is a genius. (Hence, life is constantly a circus… or something like that.)

You can build a successful consulting firm while residing in all three talent locations. For instance, if you launched a consulting practice you wore myriad hats at the start. Precious few tasks demanded your wizardry, while many required unfamiliar talents. Capability-wise, you were all over the map.

Here’s the important bit:

To personally thrive and grow and live in delight, mold your consulting firm to serve your innate genius.

Spend less and less time in your talent lowlands and dwell, guru-like at the peak of your own Genius Heights.

Sounds groovy, but is it possible? Or is it a pipedream like self-cleaning dishes?

It’s possible. In fact, let me give you three, real-life examples of consultants I’ve worked with whose consulting PO Boxes are in Genius Heights:

Moe’s innate genius is analytics. After nurturing his consulting firm to over $15 million, he hired a CEO, COO and consultants who enjoy business development, then he scuttled back into the engine room to conduct analytics for his clients. Most of Moe’s clients think he’s just an analyst and don’t even know he owns the company!

Kim’s innate geniuses are networking and high-level vision. Her entire consulting firm is structured to put her in networking situations and then to deliver on the compelling visions she paints for clients.

Andrew, a partner in a boutique consulting firm, rocks at managing and developing people. He’s structured the firm’s management so that he acts as COO and interacts very little with clients. His innate genius has produced a happy, energetic consultancy that is growing by leaps and bounds.

You can build your consulting firm around your innate genius too. What would consume your hours if you cruised most of your day around Genius Heights?

What would you give up? Who/what do you need to bring in house to transfer out of Bozo Valley and Mediocre Meadows?

For today, let’s start here: What’s your innate genius? Brag a bit and let the rest of us know.

Text and images are © 2018 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.

By | 2018-02-06T22:35:28+00:00 February 7th, 2018|19 Comments


  1. Patty Hardee February 7, 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

    I can see connections between ideas and people and put them together. Often I see people working on similar projects in different silos. “Do you know so-and-so is working on a similar concept?” Often the two get together and develop a project in tandem. I’m also a “worrier.” I can see ahead and sideways to potential pitfalls and stumbling blocks that others might not and help my folks plan for them.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Outstanding, Patty. Your innate genius is as useful for building a firm as it is for solving your clients’ problems. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Patty Hardee February 7, 2018 at 6:01 am - Reply

    Oh… and that works for managing up, as well. I have often alerted managers to information and resources that ultimately improve our communications.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 7:31 am - Reply

      Being able to identify risks and problems is an invaluable capability, especially in an entrepreneurial organization. Boutique consulting firms tend to be aggressively optimistic, and a dose of realism, while not always appreciated in the moment, will keep growth on track.

  3. R. Shawn McBride February 7, 2018 at 6:49 am - Reply

    My genius is in helping folk understand and implement business strategies in their way.

    This means finding stories, meanings and things that relate to them and their world.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 7:35 am - Reply

      It sounds like you’re an enabler, Shawn, which is a terrific genius for the top of an organization (as well as for a consultant). To the extent you build a team around you, your ability to inspire performance around a common goal will serve you very well. I’m glad you shared your genius!

  4. Kyle February 7, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

    My genius is in helping people understand what motivates them to action and the contradictions within themselves that hinders their growth.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 10:15 am - Reply

      Kyle, those are exceptional talents. As you continue to build your firm, your genius can be leveraged to inspire and motivate your team. You’ve contributed a perfect example. Thanks!

  5. Debbie February 7, 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    This is timely, as I’ve been pondering it of late.
    My genius is helping companies connect the dots between their business strategy and what’s getting in the way of peoples ability to execute on that. I enjoy figuring out the problems and barriers to strategy execution that are keeping owners and their senior leadership teams from hitting the numbers and then tailoring a solution they can implement to create the company they envision.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Finding and eliminating bottlenecks to growth is a very useful, innate genius. You’ll do well to solicit help building your firm’s strategy and tactical plans, while you focus on clearing the way for flawless execution. Sounds like a terrific way to spend time in Genius Heights while enjoying a thriving consulting practice, Debbie. I appreciate your joining the conversation.

  6. Kim February 7, 2018 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    My genius is saying what needs to be said (interpreting the beneath the surface stuff) in a way that honest but enables the issue to be put on the table and discussed. I often get “that is exactly what the problem is” or ‘you really understand us, that is what I have been feeling”.

    • David A. Fields February 7, 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Wow, what a terrific genius you have, Kim. Absolutely perfect for consulting. Your genius allows you to be Right-Side Up, listening to prospective clients, then to describe their challenges in a frame that makes you the obvious solution. Your team should be putting you in front of prospects non-stop! I’m glad you shared your genius.

  7. Alex February 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    My genius is undetstanding, framing and formulating the problems the organizations face, finding the solurions and presenting them in a understandable way.

    • David A. Fields February 8, 2018 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      An innate genius that encompasses communication is extremely useful in building a firm. To the extent you use that to make your plans crystal clear to the rest of your team, you’re golden. Thanks for adding to the conversation, Alex!

  8. David A. Fields February 8, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    After chatting about innate genius with quite a few consultants who contacted me directly (rather than posting comments), I’ve noticed a trend:

    Many consultants are confusing their innate genius with stuff they’re good at and/or what they do for clients. Those are different kettles of carp.

    You add value for your clients in many ways, and you’re better than the average bear at a whole host of activities. Not all of those are your innate genius, though. Your innate genius is a narrow capability (not activity) that you’re WAY better at than the average mortal and that you LOVE using.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Carole Douglis February 12, 2018 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this David!
    Mine is using humor, play, and improv games to allow people to discover how to improve their communication skills, at all levels, in person and through any medium.

    • David A. Fields February 12, 2018 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      What a delightful, innate genius, Carole! How fortunate for you and your clients that you bring laughter, lightness and joy into workdays that might otherwise be grey and tedious. Thank you for being willing to share openly here.

  10. Anatoli Naoumov February 13, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

    My innate genius is an ability to identify what business do (or do not do) with the results they get (or do not get).
    My peak is in the area of value creation and presentation (high-level operations, sales and marketing), not in the area of finance, accounting, HR, procurement and engineering.

    • David A. Fields February 13, 2018 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      Sounds like an interesting skill set, Anatoli. You operate at a high level and can ensure your team is heading in the right direction and making the most of the successes you create. Very nice!

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