It seems like consultants are gods sometimes, doesn’t it? These mythical figures who have somehow transcended the world of the office and entered into work-heaven. Self regulated, they seem to achieve more than the “average” worker.
Why is that? Why does it seem that the consultants are limitless in their ability to produce results? Why are companies willing to pay months of salary for hours of their time? Very simply: Consultants do True Work.
True Work is when an individual hits a point in their work that some artists would call “flow,” athletes would call “the zone.” This happens when someone is working to their best ability in an environment which allows that to happen.
How does one access True Work?
True work comes when it is given the right time to do so. You can’t ask someone to be creative in 15 minutes between meetings. They may develop a quick-fire idea but it wont have been thoroughly thought through. Creativity and work require dedicated portions of uninterrupted contemplation, not bite sized nibbles of productivity crammed between managers stopping by your desk. Consultants do better work because they are given the uninterrupted time to consider their work, not give a knee-jerk reaction to it.
Many traditional offices seem hell bent on destroying True Work. They invest thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars in offices and spaces which don’t encourage work. They give their managers lee way to oversee too much work too directly. When you are in a space so easily invaded, yet so difficult to socialize in as a cubicle (and even many modern designs of spaces are just glorified cubicle set ups) you wont be able to create True Work. Consultants work in home offices or coffee shops that are as cluttered or minimal as they like. The ability to work in an environment of their choosing allows them to eliminate or engage the appropriate distractions.
Similar to both of the above, Mental Room is the confluence of the two. Consultants heads aren’t filled with cluttered meeting notes, nor are they concerned about Tom from IT coming over and asking him silly questions again. They eliminate unnecessary concerns. More importantly, they are never bothered with minor projects and distracting side tasks. Their work becomes more effective because they are allowed to give each project the mental space it deserves.
Consultants aren’t gods, no. They are simply people who have been enabled to work at their best. It seems many traditional companies don’t trust their employees and — as such — they end up encouraging a downward cycle of productivity. It seems the next generation for workers needs to engage a more open minded policy when it comes to productivity.