We recently kicked off a new series called Stuff Worth Sharing. Our first event, “Stuff Worth Sharing: If I Knew Then…” focused on project takeaways, effective leadership, and lessons learned over the years. Before I jump into my recap, I want to shout out and thank our panelists Kevin Tuskey, Trevor Chapman, and Benjamin Nelson for a terrific conversation.
We’re a consulting firm, but we’re all about creating authentic relationships and embracing the humanity in business. People always come first. Hiring and retaining employees through a pandemic is only possible when people are the priority. Some amazing people have joined our team this year and we wanted them to have an opportunity to meet, greet, listen, and learn what we’re all about. So, our Summer interns, new hires, and seasoned SingleStone vets gathered to share stories, ask questions, and hear some unwritten tips for consulting…
What is consulting?
From the outside looking in, consulting can seem a bit blurry. I asked our panelists to share their perception of consulting before joining SingleStone, and how those ideas have changed.
Trey said that years ago, he thought consultants were hired to formulate grand ideas and clients were responsible for implementing them. Admittedly, it took him less than a week to realize this was not the case.
As consultants, we work closely with clients to understand, empathize, and address their unique challenges. We collaborate and explore every angle before delivering solutions that match or exceed our client’s needs.
How to succeed in consulting
What’s the best piece of advice for someone new to consulting or new to SingleStone? The answer is pretty simple.
Kevin touched on the fast-paced environment that comes with consulting, acknowledging that it can feel overwhelming and slightly chaotic at first. But by leaning on each other and pushing through those first few projects, your skillset will be much stronger.
We’re a tight-knit group with open communication across all employees. Ben’s biggest piece of advice was to take advantage of the open forum atmosphere at SingleStone. If you’re interested in certifications, training, or working on a new type of project—make it known. Every single one of us is driven by curiosity, so seek those who can help you understand more. We’re fortunate to work in small enough groups where it’s easy to foster mentorships and have an ever-expanding skillset.
Teamwork is the key to any successful project and it’s what we do best. Communication is the most important thing when you’re working with a team. Once open communication is established, people feel comfortable sharing thoughts, feedback, concerns, areas for improvement, etc. This boosts innovation, employee engagement, and helps individuals succeed.
What makes a great leader?
With any great team comes a great team leader. I asked the panel what qualities they find consistent among team leaders who get the job done, and done well.
Ben noted that a team leader must be hands-on and hardworking. Any great leader is active in their role, stays for those late nights, acknowledges fallibility, and works through challenges with their team. A leader must understand the concerns of their teammates and support their goals, otherwise, the group will miss out on valuable lessons.
How to deliver on client projects
A common theme for success at SingleStone is clear conversations. Throughout the Stuff Worth Sharing event, Kevin, Trey, and Ben all emphasized the importance of open communication in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to discuss the hard stuff—it’s a necessary step to create the best possible version of a product.
Clear communication is vital for internal teams and equally as important for team and client relations. Together, we must strive for an environment where people can openly and respectfully voice their concerns, contribute ideas, and evaluate processes.
Kevin emphasized the importance of having a strong product owner for a project to be successful. The product owner represents the clients, so they must be decisive, purposeful, and focused on the vision. It’s important to work closely with them and align on outcomes and goals. When the why is clear, the how is simple.
In closing, I asked the group to share their favorite part about working at SingleStone. They agreed—we work hard, stay curious, and move forward, together:
- There’s never a dull moment and embrace the unknown! It’s fun to work on a variety of projects that keeps us on our toes. There’s an element of surprise to each workday.
- The fast-paced environment is exciting. It gives employees something to look forward to and keeps us striving for success.
- At SingleStone, we are surrounded by knowledge. This is tremendously valuable in the workplace because you’re never stagnant, always growing, and always developing as a person and professional.
Each of us has more to learn and more stuff worth sharing. Luckily, we’re just getting started. It’s incredible to work with teammates who jump at the opportunity to gain some perspective. I feel right at home.
It was a pleasure to host our first event and contribute to the abundance of thought leadership happening among us.