Two ways consultants have the entrepreneurial edge

by: Olivia Hanninen, Ph.D.

In the episode ”From Consulting to B2B Tech Entrepreneurs,” Ken interviews Mike McCarroll and Irina Egorova, two successful entrepreneurs in their own right and the co-founders of Teamraderie – a marketplace of shared team bonding experiences, all of which are rooted in cutting edge academic research on what makes highly skilled individuals collaborate in creative ways.

For current consultants who are considering what options in front of them, there are two key takeaways from the conversation.

1) That problem solving consulting toolkit has some very creative commercial applicability

With Teamraderie, Mike and Irina essentially broke down the complex and ambiguous problem that is vulnerability, and specifically vulnerability in the workplace. The research coming out of Harvard and Stanford clearly indicates that teams perform best when they trust and feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of one another – this makes people like one another more, share willingly, and become more cohesive. If the problem companies face is how to make their teams perform better, then the solution Teamraderie puts forward are specific contextual catalysts to get them sharing vulnerabilities. From coffee tasting to writing rap poetry, the idea here is to create “a space for vulnerability and make it something that can fit into the middle of your Workday.”

2) It’s worth thinking seriously about a post-consulting career in sales

Towards the middle of the podcast, Irina and Mike make an incredibly insightful point about the convergence of skillsets between consulting and sales. They met at a company that Mike previously founded, Lattice Engines – where the task was to sell a “pretty complicated product into a pretty confused market.” Enter Irina, who had been at BCG for five years and was looking for a new challenge. The key to selling their analytics-oriented product was to position it as a means of solving a problem that the customer already had – a process focused on the customer, rather than the product.

The deeper, underlying point has to do with the changing nature of sales over the past few decades. While sales has some negative connotations, there are very good reasons to look past those. Before the internet, salespeople largely provided information about products. Today, where information is abundant, salespeople have it a little tougher. They need to empathize with their customers and clients, internalize their pain points, and frame the product or service in such a way that it addresses the right solution – to quote Mike, “absolutely the skills a consultant has in spades, right?”

 

To hear stories from former Management Consultants about their career paths, listen to Beyond Consulting, a weekly podcast hosted by ECA’s CEO, Ken Kanara.

 

Olivia Hanninen is a Project Manager at ECA. She can be reached at ohanninen@eca-partners.com

Published On: May 20th, 2022|Categories: Beyond Consulting|

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