Remember the old adage ‘Pre-planning prevents poor performance’?
We need to talk about pre-planning. The Bank Holiday season has already begun and with that comes a fragmented workforce. People add days on here and there to the weekends and until the summer is over, there is rarely a week when everyone is at work at the same time. As a consultant you are likely to be working across teams and so the consistency and follow through becomes more difficult. So, how do you manage it?
My recommendation is good old back to basics – pre-planning. Whether you choose to use technology to help you to plan like Trello Boards, or great team talking tools like Slack or Whats App groups or even if you just use a good old notepad and pen, it is really important to plan and track.
Keeping the strands together is essential for efficiency and for your reputation. I work with lots of types of people – by that I mean some people who won’t move without a detailed plan, and others who think they can hold it all in their heads and it will be fine. My advice to you is regardless of how someone else plans and records information, you need to ensure that you can rely on you and if necessary that they can rely on you too.
So what do you need to plan? I try to cluster tasks into projects, rather than just having one long list. I prefer note books to technology although I use an electronic calendar to track appointments and to use when I need to follow through or when I expect someone to get back to me.
I aim to never miss a deadline and never let anyone or anything drop off my lists. As a consultant myself I know the importance of not only delivering on time but of also remaining front of mind! If you are not front of mind; if you are not seen as the ‘glue’ that holds stuff together then you can easily be forgotten. By being front of mind and present when you should be, you will pick up more opportunities – if you are not there and one of your competitors is then they will pick up the work.
Most clients like an easy life and don’t want to go hunting for consultants to pay. They will go with those they can trust, who give the best value and who they can remember. So do your planning and it’s a win win.