Written by Bjarne Keytsman
When I knew I would join BrightWolves, I started to wonder what my first project might be. In which industry will I work and with whom? While the overwhelming feeling was excitement, I was also nervous and struggling. Today, I’d like to give you three learnings from my first client project.
1. Change is everywhere
On Sunday evening, after the official end of our onboarding, I wrote in my journal: “Time to start the new week calmly”. Little did I know what was about to happen! I didn’t know there was a project in the pipeline for me, so I started the week with our usual Growth Factory meeting. Lars and I worked on our internal marketing project, which was supposed to continue for the rest of the week. However, during the meeting, I got the news that I should prepare for a client meeting later that day. I received some meeting notes and documents and was quite stressed but also enthusiastic. A day after the meeting, I enrolled in a project that was entirely unknown to me 24 hours ago. A couple of projects later, I still get that feeling every once in a while. The one thing that helps me the most is being honest about what you know and don’t know. People don’t expect you to be the n°1 expert on everything you encounter. So my advice would be to be comfortable with change, but likewise be comfortable asking for help.
2. Impact is what matters
Impostor syndrome happens to me a lot. Coming from an atypical background for management consulting, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t anxious before joining. Was I qualified for this? And while that feeling still creeps up sometimes, it isn’t that pronounced anymore. What matters is the work we do every day for our clients and the value we bring there. The skills required to do that go beyond what’s on a university diploma, which I already experienced during the application process. Now, I can testify to those requirements even more every day: problem-solving, creativity, a good portion of enthusiasm, and willingness to learn. It brings me joy to know that I work for and with people who want you to succeed and grow, no matter where you come from or what you did before.
3. Handling independence with responsibility is what builds trust
Even though I was on my first project, no one was babysitting or micromanaging me. But I never felt alone, either. In the beginning, I got tasks like: “draft X slides, with this and that, by then.” Then you research information, analyze and start the designing process. I worked alone on these tasks, but when I needed help, I knew I could always count on the support of my client manager, Miguel and other Wolves. For example, when I was stuck on an Excel model, I reached out to Domien or Olivier. Even though they were also busy with their own projects, they often took the time to provide me with guidance and feedback.
I continued to communicate openly, honestly, and frequently with my manager at BrightWolves and our client. This way, they knew what I was working on and what I was stuck with. As said before, nobody expects you to do everything entirely right from the beginning, but you should reach out for feedback and try to improve yourself. All projects will require you to work independently, and showing that you can handle that through open communication really builds trust between you, your client manager, and your client.
Today, I still encounter some of these experiences. Knowing that you can count on the other Wolves for help when you need it is probably what reassures me the most.