A book review? This is much more with links to a website with templates for reflective learning and action plans to begin a personal journey to a career change. A community on FaceBook is available to provide advice and support during any significant transition. The journey begins with aids for individuals to assess if consultancy is the right personal choice so what ever the outcome, there will be a sense of support. The author Sarah Hamilton – Gill has considerable experience, directly relevant to setting up a consultancy business, having achieved this three times.
The approach is well structured beginning with analysis of the triggers for new thinking on a career path, the potential objectives and importantly, how its fit into your life journey. Setting up and working independently is integrated by the author into her life story, told with great honesty. This importance of aligning personal values to secure long term career financial and personal stability is stressed with a comprehensive selection of tools and techniques to give insight.
The language is empowering, i.e. super charge your success, be bold, take control, or follow the dream, which recognises it is very personal journey. The personal demands of moving into consultancy, its impact on individuals, their family and finances are well explored so any individual should be fully prepared. The third part emphasises the importance of timing and preparation to make this a success which is critical especially at the beginning. Importantly the final part assesses where you are now against the dream and your objectives to make sure you attain and enjoy the life style you set out to achieve.
The approaches throughout demonstrate a real commitment to reflection and personal learning with templates give the reader in depth insight into their own motivation. This is coupled to a sense of action with plans for completion. Practical sound advice and assessment on the strengths and weaknesses of trading models are very useful for new entrants. Then key dangers are identified with practical advice on how to secure an income stream before leaving employment, as well as how to market and sell your services.
The moment of decision making to leave employment is recognised as a time for something different moment. Top tips before resigning are an essential checklist before any commitment. There are references to the motivational maps to check out your strengths and fit to a new lifestyle. A revision of the change curve is a useful reminder of an emotional roller coaster, entirely normal, which can follow. Hidden in this section too is an important reminder for any consultant, to understand the commercial strategy and goals of potential clients as part of their selection strategy. The importance of how to frame any career move or change is brought to the fore especially in dealing with close family when a negative reaction can be so disempowering. As HR professionals we live and breathe framing any change for success yet this recognises here the power of those closest to us to enable or hobble.
There are some great stories in the final section from professionals who have made this transition with advice and feedback to those considering this choice which is useful perspective too. Where could this book have offered more? The overall orientation seems to be angled towards the feminine perspective in the examples and style so it could be useful to include more success stories focused towards the male perspective. Also building and retaining client relationships could be a useful additional chapter as this is another essential skill needed by those running their own business.
The author offers boot camps to those considering making this career change with very positive comments of past attendees now successful consultants such as ‘encouragement to find a version of me I had long forgotten’! For me this shows insight, honesty and courage from both parties to recognise what is happening.
I have travelled a very similar road to the author having worked as a consultant for over twenty five years as well. The experience has been amazing on any number of counts from client success, personal development, insights into people and their culture worldwide coupled to the achievement of goals on far distant horizons at the beginning. Every success to the readers as they develop their careers in whichever direction is right for them. The tools and techniques outlined the book and its supporting systems will add to the quality of this journey.
Jane Williams, Director – People Innovation Ltd