Even as a consultant, I often embed more into my clients’ teams than is (apparently) regarded as standard.
Sometimes I take this a step further and actually take on an interim role within a client. Most recently, I spent 18 months as Interim Global eCommerce Director for Dr Martens, the iconic footwear brand. Before that I spent a while as Interim Projects Director at Tesco.com. Check out my profile for more information.
Doing this occasionally makes me a better consultant. It helps to have walked the walk as well as talking the talk. You’ll get advice that’s practical instead of theoretical.
It needn’t cost you a fortune. I did Dr Martens on a flexible, 3-days-per-week basis. I focussed on the essentials of the job, and although I participated as a full member of the Exec team, I probably didn’t do so much of the secondary activities normally expected of a senior manager. Their costs stayed down, I got the turnaround job they needed done.
I had a career before becoming a consultant. Being a freelance consultant is a choice. I like doing it. But before becoming one, I had a “regular” career, concluding in being a department head and Exec team member for 5 years in a (non-consultancy!) mid-sized business. So I know how to be a manager and team-member if that’s what you need.