Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
DianeTell us about your work---what do you do? I consult with companies in the areas of management training and leadership development . I work with them to identify management training or leadership development opportunities. Then I help companies create training systems to address these needs. I may also design and deliver related workshops. What skills are needed? I think you must have good communication skills, especially listening. You must also be able to negotiate with a client to create a clear contract for how your work will be evaluated. You must be able to design training systems (or other organizational development interventions) to produce business results. Finally, excellent group facilitation and presentation skills are a must. What was your major? I have a B.S. in Sociology and an M.B.A. How did you get started in your career? I began my career as a manager in a large chain restaurant company. After being in management for several years, I moved into the Training Department of the company, where I eventually became responsible for the development of employee and management training systems. After that, I became responsible for Human Resources , which gave me an even broader background from which to work. What experience do you need in this job? I think having an operations background is important, because it helps you focus on how to insure the link between training and organizational objectives. It also gives you credibility with the people who are responsible for the bottom line of the business. Additional experiences in Organizational Development (in diagnosing performance gaps, as a change agent, as a trainer or as an "internal consultant") help to create the skills needed to become an "external" consultant . Describe your "typical" workday: There is no "typical" workday, because every client situation is different. I may be on site with a client, identifying the client need, meeting with people to diagnose the business problem or delivering a workshop; or I may be in my home office designing the solution. I may be networking with potential clients or partners by phone or over lunch or I may be in my office figuring out the next best way to market my business. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Finding a way to always measure the effectiveness of the work that I do. Sometimes I am moving on to a new project before I am able to assess whether or not my work made a difference for the company. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? I enjoy the opportunity to work with so many different people and to see how different companies operate. I also feel great when I either see or hear that there is a noticeable difference in someone's leadership skills as a result of my efforts. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? You must be able to work independently and you must be willing to do the "self-promotion" required to market yourself. You should also be able to withstand the cash flow fluctuations that arise from this kind of project-oriented work. Sometimes it is hard to stay consistently busy with projects in order to have a predictable flow of cash.