Consultants enter brand new situations every day. As a consultant, you may be coming into a company you’ve never dealt with before, you may be dealing with a specific problem or set of obstacles you haven’t encountered before, or you may be the fresh eyes and perspective that this client needs. Whatever the circumstances, you have to consider all options and opportunities for improvement and then dive in and decide how you’re going to approach and conquer that specific task.

Maybe your plans may not always be the most orthodox or acceptable way of doing things, and that’s okay, the important part is that you are coming to your client with a fresh solution to a problem that they haven’t considered yet.  As a consultant, you can’t be afraid to jump in.  If you’re not a problem solver, then consulting is probably not the job for you.  This is one of the most important skills that you can have.  The reason for this is that consultants deal with a variety of clients, in a variety of different company cultures, with a variety of problems and issues.  Just because you’re the expert on a topic, doesn’t mean that you’ve ever experienced the same exact set of circumstances in the exact same situation.  You’ll have to be able to think outside of the box and problem solve to come up with a custom fit solution.

Sometimes you’ll have to get out of your own way to solve a particular problem. You may be too close to see a solution. In this case, the best thing to do is to take a step back. See if anyone has any input for help or if anyone else has things to add. You can come in as a consultant and be collaborative.  The people who are fixtures in the company are those who know the ins and outs as well as the complications. Use this knowledge to come up with appropriate solutions.  It’s a skill as a consultant that you really have to focus on and be good at. If you can’t problem solve, you’re going to have some issues.

Another great benefit to problem solving as a consultant is that you encourage other people to think outside of the box.  You can really make some great changes at an organization when you get everyone thinking.  Most people hire consultants to solve specific problems, handle certain projects, and give a new perspective.  Problem solving skills are necessary for all of these tasks.

Why do you think that problem solving is an essential skill for a consultant? Do you think it’s non essential? How important is it to get the rest of the company to do the same? What skills are the most important for a consultant to have? Comment below!