Going on assignment to a client as a consultant can be a real challenge. Indeed, it is important to integrate quickly into the working environment of the client company in order to succeed in the assignment and satisfy the client's needs. However, this integration can be complex and requires preparation beforehand. In this article, we will give you some practical advice on how to successfully integrate in 30 days.
Prepare your mission beforehand
The first step to a successful integration is to prepare beforehand. Take time with your manager to go over points that were not covered in the interview. The company's culture, its products/services, its market, etc. should no longer hold any secrets for you! The more you know about your client, the easier it will be to integrate. A kick-off meeting is interesting because it allows you to reaffirm the challenges of the assignment in the given context. I like to use this very simple framework in project launches:
- The context
- The objectives / expected deliverables
- Define how success will be measured
- The plan and schedule for follow-up meetings
- Key contacts to know
For logistical aspects such as travel, accommodation and equipment needed for the assignment, rely on your support team who are used to this kind of exercise.
Understanding the company culture
The company culture is a key element for a successful integration. To do this, observe the behaviour and attitudes of employees, adapt to the company's norms and values and respect the rules of communication and collaboration in force. By understanding the company culture, you will be able to communicate better with your colleagues and adapt more easily to the working methods in place. Agility here is a key to success and also one of the riches of the consulting profession.
Integrating into the team
When you arrive at your client's premises, take the time to meet your contacts and talk with them. Make yourself available and take part in the team's activities. Positioning your assignments in the context of the company's project will help you to find your place quickly. If you find it difficult to integrate, don't hesitate to ask your Easy Skill manager or your client advisor for help.
To succeed in your assignment, you need to learn quickly about the company's tools and processes. Identify useful resources and skills and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Take the time to learn about the specifics of the company and the assignments you are given. The quicker you can be effective, the better you will be able to meet the client's needs. At Easy Skill we use a knowledge capitalization platform to accelerate the ramp-up of our teams. A well-defined process includes clear inputs and outputs for each step, measurement indicators and a service level agreement between the entities involved.
Communication is a key element of successful integration. Actively listen to the requests and needs of your interlocutors, make yourself available and be clear in your exchanges. Adapt your communication to the person you are talking to. And don't forget this fundamental point! In case of difficulties, a face-to-face discussion is always better than one by email. For consultants operating in difficult contexts (e.g. restructuring) the principles of non-violent communication are of great help.
Giving constructive feedback
In line with successful communication, giving constructive feedback to both your service company manager and your client is important. As a newcomer and armed with your previous experience you can bring a different perspective. The objective is not to give advice but to give feedback that can develop a questioning process with high added value for your client.
In conclusion, going on an assignment with a client as a consultant requires great human qualities. Understanding, discovering, learning and communicating are 4 key actions in which proactivity is the common denominator. If I had to keep only one word to define the success of an integration, I would choose this one: proactivity!
A man inspired to change the world who launched the company in 2014. He drives internal change and growth with an unwavering commitment to challenging the status quo. No challenge is too big to tackle. As a Frenchie living down under, he enjoys the beach and building his racing motorbike.