Sherpas Carry the Load – A Recommendation for Professional Services Skills Development
Being a security expert is not always enough to get customers to heed your warnings, it takes consulting and communication skills to translate that expertise into something the client (internal or external) can use. Whether you’re new to offering your professional opinion or have been in the business for a while, there is always room to enhance or sharpen your skills.
We deal with complex information systems engagements and our team members are often times more comfortable with the technology than with the people that need to use it, which doesn’t always result in the best customer satisfaction level even if the solution is the right one. Finding a way to say “I’m the expert so you should listen to me” to the person paying for your expertise can be challenging, but there is a difference between hiring a general laborer to install equipment or configure basic parameters and engaging an expert to assess, augment, improve, or completely redesign systems and infrastructure critical to the business.
My employer has begun the process of having all consultants (network/datacenter/security engineers and architects) complete the Project Sherpa consultant certification process, based on Shane Anastasi’s book THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. The concepts covered in the materials and exercises should be familiar to anyone who has been involved with consulting, project management, or technical sales, but the way that the ideas are structured and presented helps to reinforce positive traits for delivering professional services.