I’m sat on a southbound train powering its way down the country half way between Peterborough and Yaxley wondering what’s just happened. A week ago I was tucked up in Holborn learning the ropes as a new consultant to the Capgemini Consultant Development Community (CDC). Today, 250 miles from London and as the day drew to a close, I was asked to produce a solution that will be delivered to key stakeholders at 9:00am the next morning. How could I be prepared for this when I can count the days that I’ve been with the client on one half of one hand?
Your time as a CDCer begins with an intensive two week induction. Things kick off by meeting your peers who come from a range of backgrounds; the first lesson you learn is how diverse the people who join the CDC are. As you progress through training – through different presentations, workshops and socials – the second thing you learn is how committed all the people you meet are to your development. People in the organisation no less senior than the CEO, Dave Williams, take time out of their schedules with clients and other internal work to welcome you, share their experiences with you, and answer your questions. One of the main things you take away from the two weeks is from the example they set: to go above and beyond your day-to-day responsibilities to add value to the business and those around you.
Each day of induction was different, focussing on the various industries that Capgemini Consulting works within and the types of client work they undertake. You learn how different projects are structured and delivered, and what the impacts are over different time periods. What are deliverables and what preparation goes into each project? How do we work with clients differently from other consultancies? What roles are appropriate for a CDCer and how is a project managed until a solution is delivered? There isn’t enough time in the day to definitively answer all of these questions. Instead, induction provides each CDCer with a strong basis of understanding and momentum for the beginning of their journey.
What is the secret to going on to become a successful consultant? It depends. It depends on the project that you’re on, the capability team that you are a part of – the secret depends on what has changed for the client over the last hour! By honing your core consultancy skills throughout your induction, you begin developing the ability to deliver for both Capgemini and for the client in a constantly changing environment. Your first project may be within financial services, and you may be required to facilitate changes within the business by presenting technical solutions to key stakeholders. In your second, you may be involved with transforming the operating model of a utilities company into the digital age. In your third, you may be working in the retail sector helping the client understand ways to improve their customer experience. Such variety comes hand-in-hand with uncertainty about what project you will be on next.
The CDC induction taught me the skills to be ready: it prepared me for the never ending and ever changing world of client engagements. After our induction, some CDCers spent their next week in London, and others, like me, were dotted around the country. I went from having no clue where I would be placed to working in a completely unfamiliar sector, assimilating countless acronyms while looking out from my hotel room window onto a motorway, to helping deliver a solution by the end of my first week. As I’m sat here on the train with the country rolling by, I feel prepared and ready for next week – just about.