Last week, Business Talent Group and independent consultant Thomas Collet co-hosted a panel discussion at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston. In spite of the bracing rain and the intractable evening traffic, a diverse group gathered to hear Collet, BTG Principal Laura Klein, and BTG client — and former independent consultant — Kevin Maddy take on the gig economy.
The topic? How companies and consultants can succeed in the new world of work. Here are the top 4 takeaways from the event:
Independent consultants help clients do more for less.
BTG client Kevin Maddy is a turnaround expert who’s now CEO/COO of the Americas at Zumtobel Lighting. He engages independent consultants “because the companies I work with need to be tight with cash.” Independents are imperative to his success by helping him stretch his budget and do more with less.
Independents know their stuff—and jump in fast.
“Independents know exactly what to do. I don’t have to train them and get them up to speed,” says Maddy. Independent consultant Thomas Collet agrees. “You know independent consultants can deliver, because if they can’t, they go hungry,” he points out. “This is not a career for people who need a lot of structure and a lot of help.”
They’re not afraid to tell the truth.
Project based work comes with a set timeline, which means independent consultants know they won’t be around forever. “Consultants know they are there for an assignment, and they try to do what’s right for the company,” says Maddy. Unlike employees, they are not hamstrung by internal politics or anxieties about getting ahead.
A tight scope of work is the foundation of success.
When consultants and clients come together for a project, both parties want to see it succeed. The best way to ensure a good outcome? Knowing when to say “no.” “Employees can’t usually say no to more work,” says Collet. But to make a consulting project successful, it’s important that clients focus on their top 3 or 4 priorities. Doing this ensures that everyone can focus on achieving the main goal of the engagement.
Leah Hoffmann is BTG's Marketing & Content Strategist. A former journalist, Leah worked for Forbes.com and The Economist before joining BTG. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.