It is a well-known problem that the SharePoint industry globally is full of job hopping, over-inflated ego, self-serving under achievers. These bad apples have spent a great deal of time ruining the SharePoint brand at clients, blowing their own horns, spoiling it for many consultants who are top of their game or getting there, and dragging effective teams down with them. I am so over it. So what does makes a world class SharePoint consultant?
As someone who has run a business for over 6 years and been in the industry just short of a decade, I have come across every type of consultant there is – good and bad. As a business owner who can recruit people and provide the job of their dreams; and as someone who’s been through some horrendous learning curves in this space – I can assure you that simply knowing SharePoint is not nearly going to be enough to put you in my definition of a world class consultant. This is what I look for in a star performer :
1. You are an actual team player – not the fake version you wrote on your CV
You share your knowledge with your team on a daily basis by physically documenting it on the intranet. You work to make the whole team stronger by teaching them tricks you know. You constantly communicate with the team and your manager. You meet deadlines assigned to you. You respond to discussion board items. You offer help to those who need it. You make time for your team. You make people feel worthy and good, you uplift the people around you and don’t make them feel stupid and small.
2. You do your admin
“I suck at admin and timesheets” is no excuse! If you want to be paid top dollar, you have to be an all-rounder and do your damn admin! Your lack of admin skills is causing huge operational and financial headaches for companies. If you can’t do admin, you shouldn’t even be a consultant, go work in a big corporate as an employee instead. If you aren’t doing admin, you aren’t doing team work; go be a one man band and stop stressing out your colleagues. Update timesheets daily, write and upload your documents to the intranet daily, update and complete the tasks allocated to you by their due dates! Adhere to processes, they are there for a reason.
3. You under promise and over deliver
Do you really think for one second you are fooling anyone by doing the opposite? Do you really think no-one is going to notice when you publicly offer to do all kinds of work, then don’t actually deliver on most of them? Or you just don’t deliver anything and think no-one will notice? You take on the workload you know you can handle, and deliver it well first time every time, with grace and humility, ask if you get stuck; and adhere to all the admin processes that come with them.
4. You have an extraordinarily high set of values and ethics
My top two values are loyalty and integrity. Break the first one, or fake how much of the second one you have and you’re done for here. If you are a lying sack of shit who doesn’t care about anybody but themselves, stay away from businesses and effective teams and go be useless on your own. Don’t for one moment think your lack of integrity won’t be glaringly visible after a few months – and this is a very small industry. Make sure you know what the company’s values are and see if they match yours because that will be the thing that will eventually make or break the relationship.
5. Just do your damn job
Instead of making excuses and having to say sorry every 5 minutes for not doing your job, how about you just do your job? You know, that thing you were paid a lot of money to do? If you were so smart, you would be the one doing the hiring. So in the meantime, try to understand that work is allocated for a very good reason – one that you may not completely understand, but sometimes it’s not your job to understand the global picture; sometimes it’s your job to do the tasks that were allocated to you. Weird concept, I know….
6. You care about what you do and the work you deliver
We all know the devil is in the detail. But putting up sloppy documents, sloppy sites, not using spell check and not caring about what you deliver does not make for good internal and external client service. Of course accidents happen, nobody is perfect; but at least make an effort and try! People have often said my standards are too high and that I have to lower them. But this is why the world is in the state it is in – from too many people lowering their standards. Don’t complain about bad service in this country when you are part of the problem. I have found the general work ethic in this country to be truly shocking! We really should be embarrassed. Does nobody care anymore?
7. You are friendly, cheerful, energetic, positive
There is nothing more irritating that someone who whines all day long about how crappy their life is and walks around with a long face all day. Leave your miserable attitude at home and step up to the plate. Being a consultant or a trainer means you will put your best foot forward no matter what is going on in your personal life. If it is getting out of hand, rather ask for time off than drag the whole team down and upset clients. People paying for your services don’t pay to hear you whine, they pay you to get a job delivered. Bring positive energy to the door, create energy wherever you go. And if you’re too lazy to bother to look good for work, you aren’t cut out to be a consultant either.
8. You get involved
Don’t shout about how things are being done wrong. You explain why you think they are wrong, make constructive suggestions to improve it, then take ownership and do it. Don’t expect someone else to do it – especially when you have never done it yourself. If you think you can do it better, prove it! Take an interest in the company around you, innovate new ways of working. Make a positive difference and leave a great legacy.
9. You bring in new business
It is a huge task to constantly bring in new business to a company, especially a small one. If you want to be seen as more than an employee, start acting like more than one. Do things that will make a huge difference to the bottom line – like constantly bringing in new business. Work with your manager to set targets for things you want to achieve so that everybody wins. Stop being a taker and be a giver.
10. You continually learn and grow and take ownership of your career path
Being in IT means by default you are in a continuous learning field. If you want an increase, go and write some exams to prove you are serious about your career growth and understand the finances of the business. Don’t expect to be handed things on a silver platter, you won’t appreciate it even if it is and you will end up blowing it. You need to push and challenge yourself to reach your goals and see the bigger picture. If you are smart, you’ll align them with the company’s goals which will show the owners / managers that you are someone to be taken seriously.
11. Be dependable
Get to your clients and staff meetings on time; answer your phone, messages and emails in the shortest time possible. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you run into a problem, speak up. Be someone who can be relied on. Act ethically in all things always. Be that person that management knows can be given any task and not worry about whether it is being done, or how well it is being done. Those people are truly rare.
12. Don’t blow it
Don’t blow your career over something stupid. You need high emotional intelligence to make it in this field. Be smart enough to see a bigger picture, understand where the company is, where it is going, whether you have a chance at a long-term career there, and what you role in all that will be.
13. Know when to get out
If you are not happy at work, pack your bags and leave immediately and stop wasting everybody’s time.
You are very welcome.
Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’t wait to read more posts.
Well as you said, as a captive employee that’s no biggie. It will be a big problem if you move into consulting though.
Interesting article! Except for #2 (time tracking is my downfall), I guess I’m doing OK as a SharePoint site owner/developer as a captive employee.