You may be focusing on the wrong “level” of your consulting firm’s problems to create rapid progress in your firm’s results.
Today’s exercise in questionable metaphor usage features The Beatles’ hit single, “Baby You Can Drive My Car,” which was decidedly not about cars. And even more decidedly not about how you’re leading your consulting firm.
Nevertheless, we’re going to (mis)appropriate the song to make it a metaphor for how you’re approaching your consulting firm’s challenges.
For those unfamiliar with the lyrics, here’s the gist: a young woman who intends to be a movie star invites a gentleman to be her chauffeur. When he agrees, she reveals that she doesn’t yet have a car, but now at least she has a driver.
The heroine in the Beatles’ tune adopted a distinction that will serve you and your consulting firm well:
Solving today’s problem today is fire-fighting.
Solving tomorrow’s problem today is future-building.
In the ditty, the lack of a car is the current, immediate problem. However, the celebrity-to-be recognizes that her vision of being a big-time star requires someone to drive, maintain and clean the car, and help her in and out of the vehicle. She set her sights beyond her current problem and solved for the future-oriented, vision-level problem.
Your consulting firm’s current challenges may sound like one of the following examples:
“How do I get the next client?” or, perhaps, “How do I create a steady stream of clients so that my consulting firm’s current capacity is utilized fully?”
Or, on the flip side, “How can I locate high-quality talent that will delight our consulting clients, since demand is high and the labor market is tight?”
Or, “How can I reduce my hours working in my consulting firm so that I can spend more time with my family?”
Or, “How do I scale my consulting firm… what’s the immediate, next step?”
These and other challenges are common for small consulting firms. They’re current-level problems.
And solving those problems–fighting those fires–is important. For instance, if demand for your consulting firm’s services outstrips your capacity to deliver, you need talent pronto.
However, fighting fires generates plodding growth, at best.
Solving vision-level problems today rather than tomorrow accelerates your growth and propels you toward a brighter future.
For example, rather than closing today’s capacity gap, what’s the next, larger capacity issue you can address? Instead of finding one consultant, find three. Maybe you hire two, or perhaps you hire one and keep two close-at hand. Either way, you’re ahead of the game on capacity.
That’s just one illustration, though. I’d appreciate your help expanding on this idea.
What’s a current-level problem (i.e., fire) you’re working on for your consulting firm, and what’s the vision-level (tomorrow’s problem) version that you could work on now?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.