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How Top Consultants Effectively Apply the "Less is More" Approach

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August 28, 2020
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4 minutes
Bernadette Geyer
Bernadette enjoys working with innovative companies to help them communicate their value to a global audience. She's an avid ice hockey fan and balcony gardener.

The motto “Less Is More” was adopted by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to describe his minimalist aesthetic. However, the concept is one that can be applied not only to other industries, but to any project that you work on as a freelance consultant. In fact, to become a top management consultant, you would be wise to take a “Less Is More” approach to your projects.

While some people equate “doing more” with “achieving more”, these two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. For example, you should not be spending time on unnecessary tasks when there is a project deadline approaching. You may actually need to do less, so that you can focus your time and resources on the activities that will have more of an impact on your project.

The following are three areas where top consultants effectively apply the “Less Is More” approach.

They Have Strong Time Management Skills

If you want to become a successful management consultant, you need to learn how to apply the “Less Is More” approach to time. You can actually accomplish a lot more by focusing on the most important things and by cutting out activities that consumes time without contributing to the success of a project. Two areas that are important here are meetings and emails.

When it comes to meetings, be sure you are meeting only when necessary and only for as long as necessary. Don’t have a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting. Another point to remember is to limit the number of people in those meetings. Not everyone has to be involved in every meeting, and not every meeting needs to be in person. Sometimes a simple phone call or an update sent via email is what’s needed.

While we’re on the topic of emails, it doesn’t matter how efficiently you respond to every email in your inbox when a deadline is looming for a big project. The main question is, “How much time did you waste responding to emails that could have waited?” Top consultants know that they need to focus on the emails that matter when they have a deliverable that’s due.

“Words are like spices. Too many is worse than too few.” - Joan Aiken, Author

They Make Every Word Count

Why use 30 words to say something that can be said in 10? Top management consultants understand how to be concise when conveying information to teammates, supervisors, and clients.

When writing emails about a project, be sure those emails are focused and that they get to the point quickly. While it’s important to be polite and friendly in your emails, it’s equally important to not waste someone else’s time with a lot of “water cooler talk” when you are all working together on an important project.

Other places where you want to make every word count:

  • Proposals
  • Pitch decks
  • Marketing materials
  • Project status updates

If you are connecting with companies through an online consultant platform , there will be many opportunities for you to demonstrate your ability to write clearly and concisely – even before you start work on a project. For example, when you are communicating with a potential client via email, or on the phone, or via a video interview.

They Use Resources Wisely

Top consultants are known for making good use of resources. It’s a cliché to talk about companies “bootstrapping” on a tight budget, but you should be able to apply the “Less Is More” approach when it comes to the following three types of resources.

  • Human Resources – You may not have the number of people you think you might need for a particular project. However, by finding out everyone’s strengths, you can also figure out the best way to distribute the duties to make sure everything gets done on time.
  • Technical Resources – Knowing the wide variety of digital tools that exist to make project management run more smoothly can also help when you have a small team working on a big project.
  • Monetary Resources – No one wants to waste money, but you also have to be able to recognize when it’s necessary to spend a little more for a quality product or service. There will be times when paying a little more up front is a good idea. If you go for the cheapest option and it turns out to be a bad choice, it will cost you more than if you had just gone for the best option in the first place.

Not Just for Projects

For freelance management consultants, using a consultant platform is a great way to find projects where you can apply the “Less Is More” approach. But you don’t have to wait for a project to start implementing the above tips. You can use the approach in your daily activities: as you reach out to potential clients via email, as you network on social media, and even as you plan your attendance at in-person networking events.