This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
A few tips ago I wrote about why it’s critical, as a services professional, to see your own value as more than just a trusted problem-solver. I shared the four levels of relationship as a framework to help. Recently, I’ve been revisiting a variation of that model that a colleague and I created specifically for anyone in a shared services (or internal consulting) role. It provides a way to re-think your value, and find proactive ways to consistently be seen as more than just an order taker.
The role of internal consultant is particularly challenging. You have to live inside the organization that is your client, which means your interactions have lasting impact (for better or worse). You may be perceived as lacking independence/perspective (and in fact, you might have biases that make objectivity challenging). You’ve probably at least once experienced the phenomenon where you’ve said the exact same thing as an outside consultant, only the external is the one who gets heard. (Dammit.)
All of this makes it especially important to mind your mindset. Because how they see your value starts with how you see your value.
Consider three different ways to engage with your stakeholders:
Big Q: How do you shift in the direction of trusted advisor, even when they don’t see you that way?
Short A: With small steps.
For example, when a client comes to you with an “order,” be sure to understand business drivers and root causes. When you’re nice and comfy in your collaborative relationship, look for ways to be more proactive. And in all cases, bring empathy to your interactions.
Because ultimately the power lies with you to develop opportunities to interact in more and more elevated ways.
This week, schedule some time to reflect on trends and patterns. Take a strategic view. What do you see? What might be useful to share with your clients?
Read about specific trust challenges for IT, HR, Legal, and Finance, from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or brush up on five ways internal consultants can enhance trust in Chapter 30 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.