Organizations and businesses cut jobs and downsized, creating lean management structures. Emerging from financial problems, corporations are now faced with growing business as the economy slowly returns. What is lacking is the experience and business savvy usually supplied by senior staff that are no longer with the organization.
Vision Means Growth
Shifting from a financial control model to a growth model requires vision and investment. Organizations are faced with decisions of expanding internally or engaging outside services (outsourcing) to help.
Investment is financial commitment and comes in several forms. Increasing staff and bringing on new personnel to help realize sales goals. Adding support staff in order to help manage infrastructure problems created by growth. These may be in areas such as logistics, billing, procurement and human resources.
Vision requires strategy and planning. Executive management needs to shift from a cost containment mode to an expansion mode. Having a plan is an absolute must if the moves are to be successful and profitable. Waste is not an option for lean organizations.
Management support brought in on a contract basis (management consultants) come in many forms. Their expertise comes in the form of knowledge, experience and ability to provide leadership for an organization that is engaging in growing its business.
Five Key Areas:
Most corporations have some type of strategic plan. It may be for three years or five years and account for growth, sales goals, production goals and even staff increases. It may be a great plan, realistic and rich with goals to hit. Where the plan usually fails is in the implantation. By implementation, that means who knows what is in the plan. It does not do any good if only the executive team knows what the plan is, they won’t be the ones implementing the steps needed to achieve the goals. A good consultant can help direct the development of a plan.
Every corporation has flaws in the way it goes about handling internal procedures and processes. Most organizations can identify numerous processes that take too long to accomplish, slowing down how the organization conducts business. It might be a work order process, an invoicing process, a process required of sales in order to generate a purchase order. I may even be in workload distribution with one area controlling too much and subsequently being overtaxed in turn around. A good consultant can help the organization by facilitating a focused approach to change in how business is conducted. Involvement of staff is critical to any change if they are engaged things will improve, left out and not much will occur. Results oriented consulting addresses this core issue and can steer the group towards “their” improvement of the process (and bottom line).
Perhaps the most neglected area of any organization, the development of its personnel. Many managers achieved their positions and then were left struggling to figure out how to manage their area. Good workers do not make good managers out of the gate. They have a lot to learn about leading versus doing. A good consultant can be of valuable assistance in this area. People will open up to a complete stranger that they do not perceive as a threat to their position since they are not connected to any hierarchy within the organization. Having a coach with experience will make the transition from employee to manager much smoother than letting the manager “figure it out” on their own. The real benefit is that results will happen faster.
People become leaders; they are not gifted with some magical gene. Certain characteristics are helpful, but learning how to be a leader takes time. An experienced leadership consultant can accelerate the process and be instrumental in the growth of leadership within an organization. Drawing on their experience and past successes, a consultant will guide a new leader through the process and best practices for achieving true leadership. Again, the results are rewarding to the organization, usually in terms of employee satisfaction, improved performance results, and finally improved bottom lines.
Seasoned business consultants have as one of their “tools” financial experience at some level. It may be in the area of accounting or operational P&L management. Financial reporting is one of the most structured functions of business, usually with oversight and advice from an outside Accounting Firm skilled in the preparation of financial documents such as taxes, loan applications and such. A good financial accountant can help tie financial performance back to operations and find flaws in how business is being done that is costing money. Operational financial analysis requires knowledge of how products or services generate income.
Good Businesses Keep Looking
Any organization that seeks to grow will benefit from the services of an outside consultant that has had experience and success.