No one stays in business for long without getting outside help. Every commercial entity, from freelancer to multinational corporation, relies on some combination of consultants, mentors, attorneys, accountants, coaches, and advisors who don’t count themselves as part of the staff. "¨"¨
Some companies are immensely successful at taking advantage of the help at their disposal to ensure perpetual growth. Others can’t break out of their plateaus no matter how many external resources they hire. Fortunately for businesses that fit into the latter category, making a few simple changes to how you approach your relationship with outside experts can put you on the road to multi-million dollar expansion. "¨
Effective Help Is a Two-Way Street
"¨"¨Let’s first take a look at an all-too-common scenario. A business owner finds out about a consultant, coach, or agency that has successfully helped similar companies solve a problem they’ve been struggling with. They sign a deal. The new resource lets the client know that the new process will make employees lives easier in the long run but that they’ll have to put some work in up front. The owner vigorously agrees that the expert will get everything he or she needs, and means it.
So what happens? Employees study some of the material the coach provides. They implement three-quarters of the changes the analyst recommends. They deliver some of the information the advisor needs--eventually. In December, the owner is left wondering once again why revenue is more or less the same as the year before.
Make the People You Pay As Important As The People Who Pay You"¨"¨
Here’s a hard truth: When employees don’t fully do their part to help an outside resource succeed, it’s because they don’t view that work to be as important as what they’re already doing. In many organizations, employees know full well they must do whatever it takes fulfill a client or customer order, regardless of how many other things they have to do. As a result, they get resourceful real fast when it comes to executing these indispensible duties. They plan in advance, stay late when they have to, but they always get it done. Ironically, it’s the focus on client work at the expense of all else that keeps so many companies stuck in a rut.
"¨"¨As a business owner, once you’ve identified the right resource to help with a difficult problem, you must place that resource on the same plane as clients. In other words, when someone promises to deliver something to that resource and doesn’t fulfill his or her obligation, you’ve got to hold them equally accountable with identical consequences. "¨"¨
In fact, you’d do well to adhere to a general rule: When it comes to follow through, make it happen regardless of who’s on the receiving end. For companies that implement this simple cultural change, a hundred million dollars is often just the beginning.