The issue with consultants is that engaging one suggests you or your business have a problem; this stigma surrounds the profession and creates an immediate barrier with clients.
Changing vocabulary quickly switches the context, replace problem with challenge for a starter. Now imagine your car won’t start, no doubt you’ll have a look under the bonnet, tutt slightly and then close the bonnet none the wiser. Now you have a challenge to overcome; this challenge may fall outside of your skillset or area of knowledge so you call a mechanic. What you are doing is seeking the assistance of an expert who can help and there should be no stigma around that.
The greatest hurdle for many business owners and directors is opening up about their business and admitting that something may not be quite going to plan or that they would like some support. That first meeting can come as a great relief when you are free to unload the challenges that you seem to be facing alone; whilst talking these through sometimes solutions present themselves.
When engaging a recruiter you are effectively saying “we lack this skillset or experience and need help finding it because we can’t do it ourselves”, this is not an admission of failure but recognition that you are trying to move forwards. When companies approach me with a potential recruitment requirement the first thing I will do is try to understand their business and rationalise the position they are looking to fill or create.
- Is it needed?
- Is it the right position?
- How does this role support your business strategy?
- What does your internal skillset look like?……
It is very easy to take a brief on face value and run with it without asking questions, far more powerful is stepping back and understanding what the business is looking to do long term and challenge the hiring decision.
- Would you be better looking for a ……?
- Is there anyone internally showing promise who can be mentored through……?
- Given your long term strategy maybe you should consider this additional skillset or experience……?
- As your customer changes their buying habits do you have the ability to meet them……?
Even more powerful is taking the time to consult with clients; really getting under the skin of the business to help define the future. In this way I truly support businesses as they grow and become a trusted advisor who is always available for a chat.
As an independent consultant I can relate to the business owner or executive who may be feeling isolated and just wants a confidential conversation about their business or career, I enjoy them as well so drop me a line on 07811 896 428.
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