Some years ago, I hired a personal trainer. True, I probably didn’t need one. I'm capable of exercising on my own. But I make better use of my time and am more committed when I have someone keeping me on track.
I’ve been thinking recently about how similar my role as an IT consultant is to that of a personal trainer.
Like a personal trainer, an IT consultant can help you plan, motivate you, provide you with best practices and keep you from pulling any muscles, metaphorical or otherwise. Only instead of an exercise routine, an IT consultant focuses their expertise on a business IT strategy.
In this post, we’ll explore several parallels that show how IT consultants are like personal trainers for your business.
The First Step Is Knowing When to Ask for Help
I knew I needed to exercise, but I didn’t know where to start. I understood the concept of lifting weights, but didn’t know the right form or whether doing so would help me reach my fitness goals.
Now, I have a personal trainer I work with regularly. My trainer has helped me pick the most productive exercises, learn the right way to do them and keep me on track. The most important thing my personal trainer does is he keeps me accountable. He makes sure I show up and keep working toward my goal.
If I’m fully honest about my personal training journey, I’d say I probably wouldn’t exercise if I didn’t have a personal trainer. The accountability I gain from working with a trainer is the only reason I stick to my plan.
It’s true, I could exercise without a trainer. But would I? In the same way, you could improve your IT environment without an IT consultant. But will you?
Why an IT Consultant Is Like a Personal Trainer for Your Business
Like a personal trainer, an IT consultant helps their clients stay on track. Here are five ways the two professions run parallel, and how engaging an IT consultant can lead to improvement in your business IT strategy.
1. They identify your weaknesses/blind spots.
A blind spot wouldn’t be a blind spot if you could see it yourself. I engaged a personal trainer to help me learn how to improve. One common tool I use with my IT clients is an IT assessment, where we look at what’s going well, and what needs improvement. This helps us identify those blind spots and weaknesses, so we know what to focus our time and effort on improving.
2. They help you write a plan.
Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, you can plan how you’re going to improve on them. An IT consultant has experience with how to write a plan that’s right for you: Something you can stick to, and something that is realistic for your organization.
3. They ensure you’re measuring the right metrics.
A personal trainer might work with you on counting calories. An IT consultant will work with you on counting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Every organization should have goals they’re trying to achieve, and you watch your progress toward those goals with KPIs. Tracking progress is a great way to see positive change over time. Bringing in an IT consultant means you know you’re tracking the right KPIs to help you meet your goals.
4. They keep you accountable.
I meet with my personal trainer regularly and then train on my own between meetings. That’s the cadence, and these periodic check-ins keep me accountable. He checks in to see if I’ve kept up with my workout plan. If I didn’t, he wants to know why not. Like a personal trainer, an IT consultant helps you stay on track and plan for what needs to be done before the next scheduled meeting. You may meet with your IT consultant on a monthly, quarterly or weekly cadence, whatever fits your organization’s needs. This cadence of check-ins is what drives accountability. An IT consultant’s influence can make a big difference in improving an IT environment and completing projects.
5. They can show you proper form.
A personal trainer will help you lift weights correctly. An IT consultant will help you with best practices. They can give you insight on what works for other organizations, drawing from their experience in other situations. In this way, an IT consultant relationship takes on a coaching relationship and becomes a sounding board.
A lot of training and consulting work is helping people with accountability, cadence and experience.
As I write this, I’m about to go into a call with a client that doesn’t have the bandwidth to do the work that needs to be done. They need somebody to gather information from their business leaders, gather information from their technical people, synthesize that information into a plan and keep them accountable as they execute that plan.
At Loffler, we offer virtual CIO Services to guide your entire IT ecosystem and the people and tools you need to carry out portions of your strategy, including professional services for special projects, Unified Communications, IT security, managed IT services and cloud solutions.
Ready to get started on the road toward improving IT at your organization?
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Chad is an IT Strategy Consultant at Loffler Companies. He has worked in the IT industry for over 25 years, spending 15 of those years in IT consulting. He owned his own IT services company specializing in managed services, small business projects, professional services, IT strategy and planning before coming to Loffler in 2012. Chad has worked with many companies to develop their IT lifecycle and specializes in strategic planning and tactical implementation. In his free time, Chad enjoys traveling with his wife and two sons, playing tennis and reading nonfiction and history books.