A consulting miracle- the grumpy old git wins employee of the month

by admin on January 31, 2012

In a previous post, here we talked about the conundrum of “Grumpy Joe”.  The long-serving, client averse, deeply unhelpful consultant who does good work in spite of all the ‘high maintenance’ bullshit he  or she demands. How do you get the wisened whinger to ‘employee of the month’ status?

OK, maybe you don’t, he’s surly, smells (not really) and thinks clients are fools. He was once heard to say to a fee-paying customer of some standing

“..it is the trivial nature of your question that I find insulting..” (a real quote!).

Although the cause of some mirth, occasionally, making clients feel small is not generally the fast track to building a sustainable consulting practice… Fine in the Law, naturally.

However – Joe does good work, actually, he does really good work and although the juniors are a bit scared of him, they learn loads, and once they accept his short-temperedness is not meant to be taken personally (he’s rude to everyone) they recognise the value he delivers to the group.

It’s worth asking a couple of questions here. Do you know where you get your work? Is it your sales team (if you have one!), is it your web presence, is it your network, or is it previous work? If it’s your previous work, and I hope that a large proportion of your revenue comes from people you’ve danced with before, or you’re in deep shit, then thank Grumpy Joe. Just think, He might just be your number 1 salesman. How appalling is that?

As a professional services company, your number 1 priority must be to deliver value to your clients – whether you are delivering market analysis of the fast food industry, or providing landscaping design for the car park of a new supermarket. Doing good work delivers value and the grumpy, Aspergers-suspected perfectionist needs to be motivated to add value to your organisation in the right place.

We give our Grumpy Joe the young punks – you know the ones I mean, they always speed through their work but leave t’s uncrossed and i’s missing their dots – Grumpy Joe hates that… And he’s tough, uncompromising and relentless in his ‘grooming’ of them.  But hey, they’re Gen Y egocentric onanists and it helps them get ready to come into the real world, so it kind of works in a mad way.

If you don’t know what to do with your Grumpy Joe, we suggest you ask him, as long as you’re not too scared of him that is…. But whatever you do, don’t let him drink meths, that’s when things start to go downhill faster than a lady on a luge.


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