The correlation between a consultant’s age and colleague/client acceptance is an interesting concept which factors at certain levels into successful implementations. Now I am not talking about the age-old discussion which states that a consultant’s age should not be too much, what I refer is the adage: ‘the consultant seems to be too young!’
The occurrence of this kind of behavior is prevalent today in the industries of the past ages; automobiles, oil and gas, manufacturing. Often a client/colleague refuses a proposed solution or does not care to show the proper interest. This behavior based on certain perspectives related to age. I do not state that age is the sole factor in these rebuttals; I state that age is considered a factor for some people. This issue has been covered by reputable magazines such as HBR in daily organizational operations but how is it related to project implementations we deal with in our field?
I feel that this issue mostly occurs in the business blueprint phase with other occurrences in the realization phase. SAP consulting is a field where you have to convince the customer and the project team of your skill set through work which goes in the favor of budding young consultants regardless of module.
Is it human nature to somewhat judge the younger person in front of you or is it part of a company’s culture or is it even a regional element? I personally experienced this behavior at certain clients back some years ago but rarely get it anymore. Now the scope of what I talk about is implementation projects and certain responsibilities within them. Process industries are relevant to experience and handling the operations where the age factor would be counted. IT consulting is an area where the person who is up on the technology and knows how to apply it to a customer’s operations instead of zoning in on just the IT part maybe more knowledgeable or would have a better solution. With the developing nations, the younger people make up a large part of the workforce and this concept of age factoring into successful implementations could be looked into further.