The War on Missed Business Opportunities
The ABC’s documentary “War on Waste” struck a chord with many Australians this year. While the documentary highlighted household, retail and farming waste, when watching I couldn’t help but see a parallel to current thinking in the broader business world. It had me reflecting on how commonly a business can miss internal opportunities because of an excessive focus on the “new”.
The “disruption” era has contributed to a pace and panic that pushes change, and sometimes we forget to take the time to best utilise what we already have. While the amount of change is unlikely to decrease anytime soon, advancing the manner in which we strategise change can ensure that it is delivered in a way that is more likely to achieve genuine improvement for your business. This is especially important when hiring a consultant.
As a support service, it is our role to empower a business to recognise and build on its best resources and essentially not need us. A skilled consultant should take the time to observe what is already in your business and build on this with their specialist skills.
Here are five areas that I recommend you consider when employing a consultant to ensure you are not missing opportunities within your business:
1. Is there existing capability in-house that can assist or be up-skilled?
Having specialist support is an opportunity to not only improve your business, but to upskill your internal staff at the same time. It’s an opportunity to build on a culture of continuous improvement which in turn can have impacts on morale, retention and success of implementation.
2. What messaging will the business receive?
External involvement in a business can bring a level of uncertainty for staff. Ongoing
communication that includes the purpose of the involvement will assist with your broader change management plan. A consultant should also be able to advise on your messaging approach.
3. What projects already exist in-house?
It sounds simplistic but it is not uncommon in larger organisations for areas to work in a siloed approach. There may be other areas that have already worked on a similar piece and a consultant can then review and build on this with their specialist skills. This in turn can create a larger benefit for the business as additional areas are then able to leverage off the work.
4. What is your future strategy?
If the same work is likely to arise in the future does this process upskill your business to be able to manage next time? This is always particularly evident for me in the area of training where big dollars are spent on upskilling individuals without considering how the business can continue to reinforce the learning.
5. What process is the consultant undertaking to get to know your business?
This is evident through what access they need to internal data, staff, existing processes etc. Understanding what process the consultant will use can assist you to determine if other areas need to be involved and ensure that your business is receiving a tailored service.