Friday, June 30, 2006
Personal reflections on Module 5
The second chapter, "Blueprint for Development" held a lot of appeal for me. This section was about continuous development of ones skill set and as such falls into one of my favorite categories, "life-long" learning. In my particular niche of working with retired or retiring people, it is noticeable that many retirees do not want to completely leave the work force. Many of those folks are realizing now, the importance of continued skill refinement because of changes and developments of their own fields. So this need for continuous development is certainly not unique to consulting. I was pleased to see it included in the text because far too often text books act as if they are the end all to learning, which is seldom ever true. And it fits perfectly into the concept of review and revision that has been so apparent in the consulting process that the text alludes to. Now that I am retired from the government bureaucracy, it has been amazing to find out what a closed system I was in. All of the bureaucracy training was pretty much within the bureaucracy. When you get away from it, you realize there was so much more to know. It was really empowering to me personally to realize that there was far more to learn than just how the bureaucracy works or how to fill out a certain form, or which policies applied when. Internal government consultants are hamstrung a bit by this. Unless they are willing to go outside of the work environment and learn more about their area of expertise, they are going to very limited in what they can learn. This was a rather short chapter but it contained a great deal of good advice about how to go about improving ones skills and self-awareness.
I also enjoyed the almost opposing views of how much one should charge for consulting services. I say "almost opposing" because the two articles seem to have different orientations as to whether one should charge by the hour or by the job. I think both views should be considered. On the one hand, I think it is probably a good idea to keep track of ones times and expenses, but also to be aware that in some cases, charging by the job creates a more creative and supportive environment in which to work. I think it ought to be the consultant's choice as to which best suits a situation. I see no problem in quoting an hourly rate, but being willing to negotiate a "by the job" fee. Either way, being aware of what kinds of time and effort are being spent on doing ones job, helps to give one an idea of whether or not a job is profitable or not and allows the consult to revise fees for future consultations.
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