“Of course it is valuable for consultants to have the social skills necessary to engage in teamwork and meet with and understand the challenges of new clients,” he continues. “We use rather strict criteria that consider both hard and soft factors, and this is how we safeguard the highest quality in the match for both parties. Using highly skilled professionals is nevertheless the main ingredient, and this means that we cannot accept all applicants”.
Again I send the introverts a soothing wishful thought of good luck. Yet this is a general thought on how we tend to set up ‘entering points’ to the extrovert’s advantage, hence not about Comatch as such.
“Building our platform is much more than building a database,” Toby adds. “We are in close contact with both companies and consultants and are increasingly arranging social gatherings to bring consultants together. Freelancing can be a bit lonely if you are used to having many colleagues, yet it doesn’t have to be that way. We also see individual consultants choosing to share office space together”.
Surely there are many examples as to how freelancers are reinventing work through new collective enterprises with great success, and assumably we will see many more of these in the future.
“It has been an interesting journey for you all at Comatch so far. You are doing well and moving into new markets; something I believe many entrepreneurs are considering”.
“What is your advice to companies, who are considering going into foreign markets, but hesitating”?
“Just do it. Simply just do it! Initially, you need to go there to meet people and connect with people in your industry; people who are doing similar things as you. Do spend the maybe €6-12.000 on a market analysis. Don’t speak to three people and make a decision about going into the market or not, based on that. That’s a mistake. Find out if there is anything good for you in the market”
Great Leadership is when expectations are matched.
“That sounds like good advice,” I reply. “Yet, it also takes great leadership. Now, great leadership and management are core to ManageMagazine’s work to create healthy organizations. What is good leadership in your view”?
“Great leadership is when expectations are matched. Now it is, of course, a two-way street, but if one does not see his or her expectations matched, nothing good will come out of it”.
“Are you proposing that if expectations are not matched, then one should probably leave”?
“Well, I’m kind of a pragmatic guy in this respect. I believe that each and every one of us is the creator of our own successes. So yes, if you don’t like what you are seeing, then take your coat and leave”.
Our conversation ends here, as Toby is on his way further north to meet a client. I thank him for his time and the enjoyable conversation. Alone again at the café, I order another cup of coffee and ponder the consequences of the changing marketplace. I wonder if a further drawback of the exploding gig workforce could be that consultants will burn out trying to provide more value at a lower cost than the next in order to ensure the next gig, and the next one, and the next one? Is it merely a modern way of being ‘day laborers’? I imagine the competition can become tough. I leave the café feeling uplifted by hearing the success story of Comatch’s entrepreneurial journey and meeting Toby Toudal Nielsen. I look forward to following their activities in the years to come.
Please feel free to Pose Questions and Leave Comments
If you have comments or questions about freelance consulting, being an individual consultant, hiring consultants or other, then do not hesitate to leave them in the comments field below. Toby and I are happy to reply to your thoughts.
Further Reading about the Freelance Workforce, Freelance Consulting, and the Gig Economy?
- McKinsey Global Institute: Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy. October 2016.
- Rosenblat, Alex: What Motivates Gig Economy Workers. Harvard Business Review, November 17, 2016.