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Pressure Points – do these sound familiar?

Here at the Kenzie Group, we don’t just engage consultants, we talk to them, we profile them, we get under the surface. It’s not because we are nosey, it’s because we want to try and get people who will fit with the client organisation so that they get the opportunity to stay longer, do a better job and become a partner to the client’s team. We also use the tool to identify pressure points.

The profiling tool that we use gives us an indication of how the candidate will behave in stressful situations. In most interviews the truth about this will never come out because the interviewer doesn’t have an inclination of what might happen; the profiling tool allows us to cut to the chase and pick up on pressure points. As consultants, we all have them and we have all learned how to protect ourselves when that happens. If others know when you are feeling pressure and how you are likely to act, then they can do something to try and manage you accordingly and also to recognise the signs.

I interviewed 3 potential consultants for placement by the Kenzie Group following their profile completion, and they all had common pressure points – primarily it was the subject of deadlines. Their view was very much that when the client starts to push for a deadline and they are not ready, that is the point at which the pressure begins to build. The general feeling was that the client should give them more time and realise that they need to spend more money so that the best job can be done. The behaviours that were being shown were fairly typical of someone who does a job where detail is important – accountants, analysts, claims consultants and quantity surveyors commonly fall into this category. It will be equally typical that the person shouting for results is dominant, driven, results oriented and demanding. The two are polar opposites and yet one cannot function without the other. The detail guy protects the demanding ‘do it now’ guy, and the ‘do it now’ guy ensures that the detail guy actually achieves a task on time.

There is a learning point for both parties: consultants are likely to be detail guys. The question that you need to ask yourself is, when is enough enough? How much detail do you need to draw a conclusion? When is good enough acceptable over perfection? If you take the time to answer these questions, you will reduce the pressure for yourself because you know that there will be a point at which you have enough and you can conclude within the deadline. The way for you to manage the client is to give them timescales and headlines. They don’t want to know the detail – they just want to know when you will have it.

It’s about managing expectations for each other. It’s also about using your emotional intelligence to read other people and understand what it is that they want, not what it is that you want.

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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