Updated: May 26, 2020
I know many consultants are finding themselves with some extra time because of lost or delayed business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If that’s true for you, what should you do?
Aside from still reaching out to get business and marketing yourself—which you should absolutely, positively still do if you truly can help clients—now is the time to enhance existing skills or get new ones that will make you more marketable and valuable to clients.
While there are a lot of skills you could focus on, the single most important skills for all consultants to develop right now is change management.
Change management is the process, tools, and techniques to manage change and achieve the outcomes your client wants.
Why is this the most important skill now? Because everyone, including every existing and potential client, is struggling with tremendous change right now. And they will be for as long as the pandemic lasts and well beyond as they try to forge a new future in a world where there is no business as usual anymore.
But to truly help them, you need to develop your skills in all aspects of change management.
I mean more than just the basics. Now is the time to dive into the vast amounts of science and practice behind change management. Listen to experts who know what it is and the science and art of applying it. Consume everything you can from every reputable source. Then think about how you would apply it with your existing or potential clients.
As you are learning, get out there and practice it. When you are talking with clients, ask questions that enable you to pinpoint with greater precision what change and type of change they truly need, what the context surrounding the change is, and what they most need your help with.
By understanding the process of change more thoroughly, the nature and quality of these interactions will be richer and deeper. You will more easily be able to demonstrate why working with you will make change easier for them and what they want more within their reach.
Then, once you work together, they will get so much more from you than what many other consultants can give them, especially now when change is unavoidable and frightening for so many clients. And you will get the satisfaction—and reputation—as a consultant who can make change happen and last.
That will pay dividends for your business now and long into the future.