A Kalypso Journey: Hajar Abu-Zayed
Living the Kalypso Values as a First-Year Consultant
Becoming a successful client service professional at any firm certainly requires dedication and hard work; that’s a given. However, at a firm like Kalypso, you have to go one step further - with its unique personalities and strong culture, success at Kalypso means living the Kalypso Values.
I remember my first day at Kalypso as an eager, recent graduate from North Carolina State University, ready to start my professional career. My heart was filled with nerves and excitement for the journey ahead. It’s been quite a ride and I’m proud to have recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with Kalypso. I have grown enormously as a professional over the last year and learned a few tricks along the way. And Kalypso’s values are at the core of what I’ve learned.
Here are some of the Kalypso Values I live every day to help me be successful.
Kalypso Value: Passion for Personal Development
What it Means to Me: Continuous Learning is Required
You’re walking across that stage at graduation with your head held high, pride in your heart and your ears filled with the cheers of family and friends from the crowd. As you grab your diploma with your right hand and shake hands with the Dean of your college with your left, you think to yourself: no more homework, no more tests and no more studying.
Then you start your first day of work as a professional.
Now if words like “homework,” “tests” and “studying” cause you anxiety, fear not. What you learned in school about being a good student will help you as you begin your career. Being a consultant with a bachelor’s degree means you will have homework, you will have tests and there will be a lot of studying. It is important that you spend your first year as a student of innovation, overcoming the learning curve. Great students and learners provide huge value to both the teams you work with every day and the clients you serve, even if they have more industry experience than you.
To be a student of innovation, use your time reading recommended books in your industry. Take advantage of any and all training sessions and materials to learn more about the services and capabilities that will provide the most value to your clients.
Another great way to overcome the learning curve is to learn from each other. Kalypso is full of knowledgeable practitioners with deep industry experience. Learning from them is a huge opportunity.
Kalypso Value: Professionalism, Integrity & Quality
What it Means to Me: Focus on Building Professional Networks
Eminent management consultants have robust personal networks they can tap to learn, grow and share information. Networking is more than shaking hands and passing around business cards – it’s about developing and maintaining good relationships.
Networking is critical to the growth of management consultants because:
- It’s an important way to develop contacts you’ll have your entire career
- It forces you out of your comfort zone to connect with new people with different ideas
- It enables you to build a network of referrals and introductions for your clients
So how can you start building your network? Successful networkers regularly attend networking and industry events and set realistic goals for the number of contacts they plan to make. Just one super connection makes an event worthwhile.
True professionals also maximize the value of social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter by starting discussions, joining conversations and adding value in every interaction.
Kalypso Value: Power of Creativity and Innovation
What it Means to Me: Understand, Set and Exceed Expectations
The two golden rules of success are: 1) understanding client and peer expectations and 2) finding creative, innovative ways to exceed them. Great consultants ask smart questions to clarify expectations and bring their own fresh perspectives to creating a solution.
An addition to understanding and exceeding expectations, it’s important to set expectations of your team to help them understand what you need to grow and achieve success. At Kalypso, we expect lively debate and dissent from all levels of the organization and we value different ways of thinking and problem solving. Great consultants speak up and set the expectations of their teams and clients, and they are more successful for it.
Managing the Lifestyle
In the past year, I’ve learned a lot more about being a great consultant than I ever expected. In order to thrive as a consultant, it’s also important to manage the lifestyle – I try my best to make the places I travel to feel like a home away from home. I have found that it can be the small things that make me comfortable and more at home when I’m on the road. I like attending classes at the local gym - working out is my outlet. It’s a great break from work and a great way to refocus so I am even more productive at the office. I also love eating healthy. To do this, I shop at the Fresh Market instead of eating out for every meal. Although it may not be the healthiest choice, I must say that I absolutely love the freshly ground peanut butter there! It’s great to have a sample or two while shopping for food.
Also, when I’m staying at the same hotel for three months, I like to establish a relationship with the hotel staff. It’s nice to see a familiar face when checking in each Monday. And you never know, you may get special treatment! And finally, my most important travel companion is my tea. I like to travel with my favorite teas; there’s nothing like starting and ending my day with a cup of tea - it keeps me going.
The Kalypso values continue to provide an excellent framework for consultants to achieve success. That said, I’ve found that each consultant lives them differently – I believe my growth over the last year is largely due to the ownership I’ve taken over my relationship with our values and my choice to remain true to myself.