05 August 2011

Advice for New Consultants

I mentioned earlier this week that we have some new consultants out there so I thought that I would give them some public advice.

  1. Remember that this is a people business. Someone probably mistakenly told you that you worked for a technology company or that this was a technology business. Wrong. Dead wrong. This is a business where we use technology to address people’s needs. Anyone can implement technology. Providing solutions means listening, understanding and being creative. Sometimes it means being frank without being rude.
  2. Learn like there is no tomorrow. You have a terrific opportunity to learn in a classroom setting and on the job. Don’t stop there. The web is full of help from blogs, forums, videos, etc. Buy a book or two. Understand that its okay to not know everything. It’s not okay to not know anything. For example, clients often ask the field length of a specific field. If that’s Batch ID, I know it by heart. If it’s some obscure field, I commit to looking it up and getting back to them. If they ask me how to do a journal entry in GP, I’d better not have to look that up.
  3. Use good judgment. Be an adult. Some days you need to follow every rule. Some days forgiveness is better than permission. Figuring out what day today is, that’s the key.

    If what you learn in training differs from what you see on the web, or some blog, even mine, for now, go with training. There is more than one way to do things in Dynamics GP. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. We have a lot of pain and money invested invested in the way we do business. Don’t learn my bad habits.

    Throw the red flag early. If you’re over whelmed, lost or stuck, speak up. We’ll let you know if you’re abusing the privilege. Early is always better than late.
  4. Let things go. If you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying hard enough. Part of our job is to keep you from making big mistakes, like using Drop Table in SQL. We would appreciate it if you didn’t make the same mistake 4 or 5 times in a row. I have yet to see a mistake kill anyone, so relax.
  5. Have some fun. It’s ok to have some fun. When you travel, try to see more than than the airport and the client. Eat somewhere that isn’t a chain. Sign up for every travel award program you can and use the points to go somewhere crazy, like Des Moines. See you chuckled.

Finally, understand that everyone wants you to succeed. We need all the help we can get. Now hurry up!