I was speaking to a client at a conference recently about their business need. They had just started working the HR work for a start-up, and hadn’t got to grips yet with drafting their business development plans and initial marketing strategies. As I was going through my step-by-step processes to set them up, I was talking to one of my distributors about how they could make the most of their consultants’ time. Getting too bogged down in the details and telling them that they should take a look round and ask some questions worked very well for almost instilling a ‘think carefully before you act’ mentality.
I was intrigued to read over the client’s business plan. I took out all of the pertinent sections on the plan and thing of the few names there, and a few others. Then with my client’s help I started to go through the plan. What I found lies in the lack of clarity in how staff (and the consultants) deal with full time staff. For example you might have a person working in the customer service department, several people in project management and marketing, and yet – after read the plan – not have a clue about what everyone does (appearly in a great many cases).
Most business owners don’t have a scale of Magnetic Time Management. You’re hard at work and getting it done, but then suddenly the phones keep ringing, your competitors are breathing down your neck and your customers are leaving you with each other.
You need to be aware of ‘insourcing’ your staff (who may not even be reading your business plan). Attitude could be as good a motivator as location and equipment (or someone at home with a different agenda).
Who is ‘in-the-know’ about your business and it is their job to keep moving forward? Someone who has your business interests at heart!
Running a business as a business owner and as a manager can be a lonely business. You have to be able to identify the resource-pushers out there and bring them into the system. It then becomes a numbers game.
One of the more specialised areas of your business is your part of a consultant’s role. You could be the office manager, the operations manager, the accounts department, the IT support person, or a group of such jobs. But in the workplace you want mid-level people who want to know (and they know) what they’re there to do.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve helped clients in a small way, to get in on some of the decision making (but not in an employee sense). It can often be one of the best ways of building engagement and retention at a similar threshold to pay levels.
A personal note. Please don’t delay… if you are in a recruitment position and think there is a correlation between your management skills and retention of recruiters, or salespeople, I hope you find this article very helpful.
I’ve worked with mentors at all levels of a company, and with slight fluctuation in the quality of staff availability. Now and then, even in smaller companies, you get a consultant that really wants to help you, but he/she often just will not – they do not want to get involved.
In that same company i was, I always would have my own team immediately jumping to help out wherever they could – even if it wasn’t the immediate problem that was happening.
We must not assume, therefore, that if you have an excellent candidate on the verge of vacancies that they are automatically going to hire us.
You need to make sure that you stay matter-of-fact in discussing business development with your consultants, and again that you sort out your office staff first. This makes it easier for each other.
We as consultants cannot expect a job to just fall in our laps. In this economy, it is not even possible!
There is so much more to do, so much more backup work, and almost a million things to get done that it can be disheartening for others to have to keep on doing these sorts of things for us.
We should all welcome the assistance of people who are resourceful for our own businesses.
I believe that we should take business development consultants seriously, even if it upsets our ‘control’ side of the brain. When we are ready and able, this can be the best thing we will ever (and ever made anyone feel let down or disheartened) do in our lives.:)
I love the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey. If you haven’t already read it then feel free to check it out!
I do however always find that if the job role turns down, then being a business development consultant can be a much more rewarding experience for me than working in an office.