Consultant by chance... ? by Dominique
Antaes consultant for 4 years now, the job came almost by chance. But was it really by chance?
After nearly 20 years in the automobile industry, twenty years in a technical, demanding and innovative industrial environment, I needed a change and I turned to the aeronautical sector. The site I chose, while being in the same geographical area as my automotive studies, did not bring me the fulfillment I had hoped for and I found myself thinking about a new path.
After an upgrade of my LinkedIn profile, the circumstances being I think favorable, I was contacted by the Antaes recruitment team for a project manager mission, in fact the replacement of a consultant already in activity.
Let me clarify, I am originally from the Hauts de France, on the Opal Coast, more precisely 800 km from Geneva, and I had heard very little about employment in Switzerland.
Once the first surprise was over, I was seduced by the presentation of the company and the values put forward.
I appreciated the availability and the listening skills of the various people I met, from the consultant to be replaced to the Practice Leader and the Associate Director Jean Jacques Berthin.
In addition to these exchanges, there was of course the prospect of an assignment with a technological content that met my expectations.
Having worked with a number of consultants in my career, and having always had a strong sense of service towards my internal “clients” in the course of my various projects, I quickly responded positively to the Swiss proposal.
As soon as I arrived on site, the Antaes teams were there to help me settle in, both physically and administratively, and were always ready to listen to me when I needed them.
I had to manage a change of region, country, culture and professional environment at the same time.
And with such a change, this presence was rather comforting.
After a month of recovery with my predecessor, here I am alone at the wheel.
At that time, the challenge for me was both to successfully complete the mission entrusted to me and also to successfully take up my position as a consultant, both literally and figuratively.
I had inherited 2 major projects at the end of the planning phase, that is to say in the professional terminology, the phase of pre-acceptance at the suppliers’, before the delivery to the final customer.
These 2 projects were linked to capacity needs, and the customer was more demanding.
These resources were produced by diametrically opposed suppliers: one in the Swiss Jura, the other in the Annecy area.
Apart from the language, everything opposed them… and I therefore quickly had to understand the functioning of these companies, in addition to that of the client.
For this “professional integration” part, the presence of Antaes being very strong at this client’s (we were nearly five consultants in the location), mutual assistance was of course essential, facilitated by the profile of the consultants whose team spirit is not an empty word.
In addition to my fellow consultants, the Practice Leader was also working with us.
His presence and his knowledge of the client’s organization enabled me to succeed in this necessary rapid integration.
This is one of the great strengths of the Antaes structure: even when you are positioned at the client’s, you are not alone.
Always having in mind the vision of result obligation and customer service, I had to further develop certain skills.
I moved from the automotive model of a technical project manager to that of a project manager who had to deal with a whole range of skills and personalities.
Listening to my various contacts, from members of my project team to managers, department heads and people in the field, was really the key to success.
This skill is really essential for me in my field of activity.
In my role as a “newcomer” in the client structure, I also had to show great humility in order to integrate myself into this new world and culture.
With a status of “foreigner” to the country that welcomed me, I had to distinguish myself from the image of some of my compatriots or at least from the arrogant image of the French rooster.
This attitude was new to me, not that I am naturally arrogant, but it was not mandatory in my previous experiences.
In retrospect, I still think that arrogance develops unintentionally after a long period in an organization.
These qualities are also applicable with suppliers:
It is important to me to have as much exchange and transparency as possible with my suppliers, and that goes both ways.
Project management being somewhat different on both sides of the border, the project manager’s goal is the same: to get the teams to adhere to a common goal of success.
In this, the personal touch allows to adjust the cursor of the exchanges in order to pass the right messages at the right time.
In addition to these two qualities, the management of these projects has allowed me to demonstrate my adaptability.
Twenty years spent in the automotive world serve to train you, but also often tend to deform you and make you “non-adaptable”.
After four years with the client, and with a number of successful projects in hand, I think I have demonstrated my adaptability.
Having now completed 4 successive missions with the same client, this phase of assessment and analysis is important to note the positive points but also the points of improvement.
Even with a good appreciation of the customer, it is important to question oneself because each service is new and requires vigilance and extreme rigor.