If your plumbing backs up or leaks you call a plumber. When your electrical outlets stop working you call an electrician because those experts deal with these issues every day and have acquired specific expertise that likely you do not have. So why, when your business strategy is faltering, do you try and fix it yourself? Companies resist hiring consultants and when economic troubles hit, typically put a freeze on outside consultants. Somehow the idea of hiring “consultants” has been given a dirty name recently. Yet at times, you just need to “rent” the expertise and not own it.
Just because you are a highly paid business executive does not mean that you have the experience or knowledge to overcome certain obstacles. Just like you would not permanently hire a “Vice President of Plumbing” to fix an over flowing toilet you need not permanently hire expertise that will be needed for a short period or specific task.
Mergers and Acquisitions are good example. Unless you have a business strategy to become a serial acquirer then what you need are the experts who do it all the time and know how to make the end result successful. Successful mergers and acquisitions goes well beyond the bankers and financial experts who most consider the critical role. Once the deal is done the real hard work begins and that is one of integration of people, process and technology. These critical tasks of the integration can’t be handled by the existing operations staff alone. They had a full time job before this opportunity came along and come with organizational bias. You need expert guides and transformation expertise to augment your staff with specific skills and expertise. You need the equivalent of an “M&A plumber.”
There are 3 states of change. Current, transitional and future. You need expertise to help with the transition from current to the future state. The transition state is a different operating state requiring different competencies than the future state. The Native Americans say that you need to create a healing forest in order to make a change. You need to use positive resources (SME, etc.) to lead and manage the transition while the organization’s leadership learns and prepares for the future. Transformations of any kind need different skill sets than those people who know how to manage operations efficiently for an ongoing operation. Transformation consultants are expert change agents. Generally speaking you want them to come in, drive the change, create knowledge around the transformed business and then have them help you find the right person to RUN the new business model long term.
Today we are in a sharing (service) economy where we can have an ordinary citizen to share his/her ride or home with us on an as needed basis. We count on shared knowledge through communities of people with global experience and through online digital sources. You want access to that knowledge when you need it, you may want to retain some of it but if it is not core to you it is short lived. You may hire the plumber because of their knowledge and if you watch them work, then next time something simple happens you might be able to do resolve it yourself because you learned from an expert but you have no intention to be in the plumbing business. A good consultant augments your employee’s expertise and leaves them with new knowledge and skills.
So, don’t think of consultants as an expense that is not in the budget or a threat to your job because you do not have a certain expertise “in-house”. Think about it as “renting an executive” to augment your skills for a specific task or timeframe for the same reasons you might hire plumbers, use AirBnB or Uber. This specific core expertise is where boutique firms, outside of the big name firms excel and can save you time and money. If you need an army of MBAs to tell you where your financials went wrong, hire the big firms. If you need someone with practical experience in your industry for a short term or to lead transformation look for boutique firms who have partners with years of real world experience.
At ServTrans we help companies align and optimize their current resources and drive successful change through innovative, customer centered business models and then guide them through strategic transformations. Rent an expert from ServTrans . Want more information? firstname.lastname@example.org or www.servtrans.com