In the years that I've been consulting for business executives and entrepreneurs, the phrase I've probably heard most often is this: “How soon can we begin executing?” Everyone, it seems, wants instant answers, immediate gratification and results yesterday.
Perhaps you can understand why consultants are so frustrated. We try to get clients to anticipate future needs and plan for them while there's time to do a thorough job, to consider a range of alternatives, and to let our creative juices flow in some innovative directions.
We know that the really novel solutions don't show up when there's a gun to our heads, or a time bomb ticking in the background. More often, they show up a few weeks after the client makes a decision driven by the timetable.
That's frustrating, because nobody will ever know how clever the consultant is if it's a second-best plan that gets implemented in the market. It's also unfortunate for the client, who is paying top dollar for great advice, then rushing to accept a less-than-the-best deliverable.
Perhaps you can now understand yet another reason for why I think the job search process is really like a strategic marketing project. Everyone looking for a job wants an instant answer, immediate gratification, and a great new job starting last Monday.
I'm convinced that both the client who is timetable driven and the typical job seeker are doing themselves a disservice.
Here's my rationale. Every marketing effort has at least three phases: strategic planning, implementation planning, execution.
In the first phase, you determine what you want to accomplish and how you're going to go about it. In the second phase, you translate the strategic plan into a detailed action plan. Only when those two phases are complete can you begin the implementation.
Michael A. Goodman is a marketing/management consultant and author of the book The Potato Chip Difference: How to apply leading edge marketing strategies to landing the job you want. For more information, visit PotatoChipDifference.com.