What My Father Taught Me: 3 Enduring Tips for Consultants

By Lisa Witzig

Dr. Witzig serves as Fuel's CMO, has decades of consulting experience, and enjoys her role as a marketing professor at Colorado State as well. 

My dad was a well-known and highly respected professional in his field—nuclear physics—and was the quintessential consultant in his later years. He was smart, compassionate, and always encouraging. He imparted three enduring pieces of wisdom that have served me well as a consultant.

I’m happy to share them with you to honor Dad on Father’s Day. 

Always be a class act. You can’t control the situation or your client, but you can control your actions and responses. My father drilled this one into me from an early age—whatever you do, make it a class act. Carry yourself with dignity and afford others that dignity, too. Do not invest time in people who are mean spirited or embrace a negative outlook. Show others what “class” truly is.

Be an expert in two core areas. Organizations hire consultants for their knowledge and experience. My dad always emphasized that you should have not one but two areas of deep expertise, as well as a tool chest of skills, like writing or facilitation. He encouraged me to focus on the mission, core operations, and capabilities that differentiate an organization. If your client’s environment changes, your expertise and skills may need to change. I’ve returned to school many times to sharpen or even shift my expertise, and I’ve never regretted investing the time and energy. 

Perform one act of kindness daily. This one may appear unrelated to consulting. But, a random act of kindness affects your whole attitude and outlook. As a consultant, you’re at your best when you incorporate empathy into your work. Nothing jump-starts that process like performing a random act of kindness every day. It becomes part of your DNA. 

I’ll end with a question that my father asked me every time he spoke to me: “Daughter, what was your act of kindness today? Tell me about it…” 

Tell me about it. What wisdom has your father shared that helps you be a better consultant?

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