I’m a general manager at a big consulting firm. I’m doing well and I’ve been working with a coach for about four months. My biggest issue is although I’m on track, I don’t yet have a win under my belt.
I’m involved in some big deals and my peers would say I’m adding value. My concern is that my boss—and his boss—may not see the direct link between the work I’m doing and how it puts our firm in a position to win more business.
I’m afraid my time might be running out. My coach suggested I sit down with my boss and renegotiate agreements about what I’m doing and timelines to success. I’ve tried to do that, but am not getting any clear specifics from him. Any suggestions?
My Time is Running Out
Dear Time Running Out,
You seem a little paranoid. Big wins at consulting firms take a long time to build to. I can’t believe your boss wouldn’t be aware of that. Have you seen other people let go because they didn’t have enough wins? What evidence do you have that makes you feel so on edge? If you don’t have any and are just feeling insecure, I would say you need to stop obsessing about this and focus on the work.
If you do have legitimate reason to worry, though, I have an idea for you. If your boss isn’t giving you specifics it may be because he hasn’t articulated what a good job looks like—or he just figures he’ll know it when he sees it.
The big consulting firms tend to be driven by metrics, so find a way to communicate what you are doing in terms of a scorecard. Build a report so that you can share with your boss on a regular basis—weekly or biweekly—all the different things you are doing, but in context of the potential deals you are working on.
Anyone with experience appreciates the amount of time and hard work that goes into landing deals. You might organize your report into activity by potential client. You could even build a little gauge that shows how much closer you are to closing business because of your activities. If your firm used some kind of CRM system, your boss probably would be using that to track your activity.
The best you can do without an actual contract to show for your hard work is to make a consistent case for the value of your activities. This way, your boss will have a clear view of your progress and you won’t have to worry about him wondering what the heck you are up to all day.
About the author
Madeleine Homan-Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.
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