Consulting Traditions

You know the holidays are upon us when you have enough cream cheese and butter stocked in the fridge to form a medium, pro-lactose snowman in the yard. So as we kick-off the busy, dairy-laden season, you can't escape discussion and dissection of traditions.

My nephew getting a little impromptu, pre-dinner performance appraisal from his mom, my sister.

My nephew getting a little impromptu, pre-dinner performance appraisal from his mom, my sister.

It got me thinking about some of my favorite consulting traditions... do you share any of these with your team, I mean, family?

  1. Trying to explain (again) to older relatives what exactly you do for a living. Forget the fact that I stumble around using descriptions like-- I work in an office on a laptop to I try to help the government run better- it's their problem if they don't get it. They never walk away looking less confused but they will eventually walk away.
  2. Accepting the fact that cooking with toddlers is neither efficient or effective. It's messy, noisy, and imprecise. I seriously could have made 45 sweet potato casseroles in the time it took me (I mean, us) to grind out 2 lopsided, egg-shell filled versions this morning.
  3. Sneaking just a little work in on your current RFP's past performance section between dinner and dessert is totally fine. Of course, everyone knows you're not really helping the kids with legos. You come back to the table another glass and a half of wine in with that far-away look-- thinking about scoring criteria and relevance while your family tries to lighten the mood with, "Busy time at work, huh?"
  4. Defending the "kitchen to table" business process reengineering (BPR) diagrams that you created in Visio after last year's meal. I never get why people don't appreciate the time and thoughtfulness that goes into trying to make dinner run on schedule. No offense, grandma but the "way you've always done it" is slow. With a little more stirring and a little less chit chat, we knock this out. And no, that's my glass.  Yours is the empty one by the stove.  Thanks.
  5. Slightly more rare-- but that just makes it even more special-- is the Thanksgiving morning tag-up conference call. This is pure "misery loves company" when the proposal manager wants to be super sure that everyone is making progress on their sections because lord knows they're not.

Happy Thanksgiving!