A Dozen Lessons from Top Consultants on How to Be Great 

Management consultants hold some of the most demanding and rewarding jobs in the world. A climb to the top of the consulting industry is a huge challenge that Christie Lindor, consultant, author, and mentor, is all too familiar with.  

Christie recently shared her experience and advice with me. She learned in her research for her upcoming book The MECE Muse: 100+ selected practices, unwritten rules and habits of great consultantsthat the traits that make a great consultant and lead to success in her industry can be translated to nearly anyone.  

“When I asked each person the question, ‘What is your definition of a great consultant?’ I noticed that most of what takes someone from good to great had more to do with their characteristics and emotional intelligence than their technical acumen,” says Lindor.  

Here are Christie’s top 12 tips for propelling your career: 

  • Make a conscious choice to be great. Greatness isn’t a gene. It’s a mindset, a conscious decision, and a way of being.  
  • It’s always personal in business. Common courtesy and etiquette alone will take you far – use them to your competitive advantage.  
  • Pay it forward. Focus on helping others shine and succeed. Your own success will follow.
  • Get out of your own way. Do not allow the stories you tell yourself shape your career decisions or ability to deliver and create impact for your client or organization.  
  • Create a fulfilling, rewarding, and sustainable career. Develop solid habits that creates a sense of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Your journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace the journey and trust the chaos. 
  • It’s not about being right but about being effective. Give up the need to always be right and instead become obsessed with value creation.  When you focus on the right thing, everything will always fall into place.
  • Take ownership and accountability of your career. Stop letting life just happen to you; take control of the things that are within your control. Do not let a fear of missing out guide your career decisions.  Proactively seek out numerous coaches, mentors, advisors and sponsors. Create a personal board of directors.  
  • Step up to a higher standard. Maintain standards of excellence without striving for perfection. The day you let your standards down is the day you’ve decided to become mediocre. 
  • Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. If you are the hardest working, most capable, or motivated person in the room, on your team, or in your practice, find another room, team, or practice. Create an environment of excellence for yourself and those around you. 
  • Develop and execute basic habits remarkably well.  The ability to do simple things extremely well is a competitive advantage. Do not underestimate your ability to bake an amazing cupcake instead of a cake. Fiercely protect your reputation, integrity, and credibility.
  • Be empathically inclusive and compassionate to others.  Accept people for who they are, not what you want them to be.  Be willing to learn from someone with a different mindset and worldview other than your own.  
  • Embrace authenticity as a competitive advantage. Be intentionally aware of how you think, learn, and work in order to maximize your strengths.

Join Dana Manciagli’s Job Search Master Class right now and immediately access the most comprehensive job search system currently available!

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.


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