How to manage expectation and "wow" your boss?

expectation
New answer on Jun 06, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 02, 2020

As I will start a job in consulting soon, I'd like to seek some practical advice on how to manage your manager's expectation in a smart way. Some people say that it is important to set the bar low in order to overachieve and "wow" your boss. I'm wondering whether this tactic is suggested. Could anyone share your experience?

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Mahvin
Expert
updated an answer on Jun 02, 2020
Ex-BCG | Helping you get the offers you wanted!

Hi there,

Several tips you can leverage if you're trying to impress your boss.

1. Rule of 2x: Be cautious of biting off more than you can chew. Especially for new consultants, oftentimes they may be eager to overcommit or promise unrealistic timeline for deliverables. A good rule of thumb that I have learned is to first understand a realistic amount of time needed to complete the task, and then double it as buffer for any contingency plan. In addition, having this buffer time also provides you time to recheck you work to ensure it is high quality

2. Communicate frequently: If you face a problem in your deliverable, don't be afraid to reach out. Oftentimes managers are more than willing to coach their direct reports. What you want to avoid doing is to try to solve everything yourself, only to realize before the submission due that you are not able to solve the problem. Remember managers are willing to mentor, but they don't like surprises. This is because the manager's own reputation with the client and partners is on the line if the team does not deliver on time.

3. Quality: Last but not least always strive to put your best foot forward. Sense check your work, make sure it is free from any glaring errors. For instance, making sure your analyses are sound and that your slides have minimal to no formatting errors.

Thank you,

Mahvin

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Jun 02, 2020

Hi there,

As a fresh new joiner, to impress you need to be reliable, that's it.

  • Manage your time - meet the deadlines that you agree on with your managers and have a thought-through deliverable every time
  • Listen carefully to the task and to the feedback - Do exactly as what is requested from you and aim to never get the same feedback twice
  • Don't become idle - Ideally, your manager would give your a series of tasks to finish, so when you finish task A, directly start with task B - now if your manager didn't properly line up the work for you, then be proactive, send him/her your task A and mention that you think it is a good idea to work on a new task that you think makes sense.
  • Stay organized and stay composed - keep your research work well documented, keep your slides and excel well document, be ready to quickly answer "from where did we get this data point" - Don't have 20 tabs open on your browser, it is a sign that you are not reading them and extracting data properly and that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed.

No need for fancy to tricky tactics - if you are good, it will show - if you are disciplined and reliable then you should be able to impress your manager by showing your true potential.

Best of luck with the job!

Khaled

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Anonymous A on Jun 02, 2020
Thanks! Awesome advice :)
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats on that interview!

Few toughts here:

  • Communicate constantly: to manage expectations well, to give visibility on what you are doing, etc. It´s key and will prevent misscommunications and problems down the road.
  • Take feedback as a present: meaning that, you can take it and incorporate it when it´s good -most times it will be amazing and will make you grow a lot-, or just say thanks and file it in the "none cares" file if you think does not apply.
  • Scope very very carefully: don´t take more than you can handle, and actually, be very conservative. It´s better to have extra time, since issues will araise.
  • Learn from the best: Identify the best and spend time and energy learning from them: their way to communicate, analyse... to me, this was fascinating in consulting.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 03, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

congratulations on your offer! Below you can find some tips:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
  2. Always double-check. The first impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you create a reputation of a reliable person. Double checks should be done on expectations for your job, your Excel analysis, your slides – basically everything.
  3. Define priorities before starting any set of tasks. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle. Alignment on priorities and expectations is particularly important with your manager at the beginning of the project.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. Consulting is a people business and you should build a good network both within and outside the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term
  5. Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, it is better to align with your manager/teammates from the beginning on your core needs, so that there are no surprises later on.
  6. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  7. Ask for help when you don't know what to do – better to let know you are in trouble with meeting a deadline then missing the deadline.
  8. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company. Also, it shows to everyone else in the team you are a team player

Best,

Francesco

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 03, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Congraulations on getting the job!

First: Read the 25 tips in my consulting handbook here: https://www.spencertom.com/2018/01/14/consulting-survival-guide/

Second: While working making sure you:

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Are comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

5) Communicate frequently and effectively with your boss - I.e come in with a view/solution (not just problems), flag blockers/delays early, and be succinct in your communication (get to the point quickly)

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Anonymous replied on Jun 03, 2020

Hi

It's good to know very soon what are the criteria used to perform the end of case feedback. Personally as I used the following:

  • Problem solving / insights
  • Communications skills (verbal & written)
  • Client interaction
  • Practicality and effectiveness

Please PM should you like to have more info on how to succeed on each of those dimensions.

Best

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Anonymous replied on Jun 06, 2020

Dear A,

Great question! Which will help you build successful career in consulting.

Yes. One of the key principal is undersell and overdeliver. So lower the experctations from you and always exceed them by overdelivering the results in order to create happines with your boss, your project manager or your mentor.

For candidates like you, who have already secured the offer with a leading consulting firm, I have designed my program "Get ready for the first 100 days " as well as long-term career planning. This program touches all the important aspects: the mindset, the skills, knowledge, networking and ,managing yourself as well, your bosses and clients - everything that is important in your successful career.

In fact, I'm sharing my knowledge of 6 years career experience in consulting, where I was able to land on the fast track promotion and to be promoted from consultant to a project manager just within 3 years, which is extremely fast.

Happy to share these insights with you, feel free to reach out directly to me.

Good luck,

André

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Mahvin gave the best answer

Mahvin

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