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Stepping out to step up

February 18, 2019

At the end of January, the Ottawa team took a break from the office to reflect on 2018 and make plans for how the team—individually and collectively—can evolve, and what we want to accomplish together in 2019. The team day was held at Canada’s Science and Technology Museum.

One of my favourite parts of the day was learning about the Firm’s Visionary Leadership Model (VLM), a framework for how we work together, continue to be best-in-class practitioners, and always deliver value to clients. As someone who is quite new to the world of consulting and who has never been to business school, it was really helpful to get a better understanding of how the work I do every day supports clients’ broader organizational goals, and can lead both myself and NATIONAL as a firm to become trusted advisors.

My key takeaways were:

1. Becoming a trusted advisor takes time. You need to first provide good service to prove your worth to your clients. If you always meet your deadlines and over-deliver on your outputs, you will become an asset for them. If you do this continually, they will start to know and trust you, and seek your advice in other areas.

2. Consulting is not only about professional relationships, but involves personal relationships too. Our clients are real people and so consulting requires a human connection. Little things like taking the time to have an in-person meeting, instead of sending a string of e-mails, can go a long way to build mutual trust and respect.

3. We cannot grow as consultants without our organization investing in developing talent from within. As the newest member of the NATIONAL Ottawa team, at the time, it was fantastic to hear my colleagues’ personal stories of the advice and feedback they had gotten on the job that helped them grow as consultants.

4. We get to do really meaningful work. Being at the Museum and learning more about the work NATIONAL Ottawa has done with Ingenium (Canada’s Museums of Science & Innovation) was inspiring. It was the perfect combination of learning and fun.

A special thank you to David Pantalony, Curator of Physical Sciences and Medicine, and Tom Everrett, Curator of Communications, for the special tours of the Medical Sensations and Sound by Design exhibits. Ingenium showcases Canadian ingenuity and inspiring future generations of innovators.

In our own right, I think the NATIONAL’s Ottawa team does the same. Daring ourselves, and our clients, to think differently and to test the limits of innovation in strategic communications.