Yesterday I was involved as one of several mentors in a Mentoring for Growth session, working to help a local business with challenges they faced. It's a free program run by the Queensland Government which I highly recommend if you feel you could do with some direction from experts with diverse backgrounds.
For the business there was a lot going on but one challenge is around getting the right people, people that could make some decisions and help the business move forward. People that had experience and expertise in areas and knew how to make the right decisions, or at least not costly decisions.
This business operates through a Director and it's employees. Maybe the mindset was one of only being able to bring in knowledge and experience through employees. They felt they couldn't get the proper help needed although there can be different ways to obtain qualified support.
The issue is similar to an article I wrote last month, Decision Making - Outcomes not Costs. The main point is to focus on the needs you have and outcomes you want. How you achieve this is secondary and must come in at a cost no more than the value received.
Firstly, finding a good mentor or mentors can help. This might not feel easy but if you put the word out, talk to people and let them know you are looking it can open doors. Ask for mentors in particular areas, with real experience and see what comes back.
This is different from a business coach that takes you through a structure program and holds you accountable. It's more someone you can bounce your thoughts, ideas off and get some direction.
I'm actually not a fan of the term 'virtual' when it comes to management. We provide services around the financial and operational side that many would label as 'virtual' though it just doesn't feel appropriate. When I say it I mean something that can be very real, face-to-face and hands on. I just mean 'as required'.
You don't have to employ the absolute best you can on a full-time basis. This is expensive and leads to an under-utilised resource. The more senior levels of management are often leadership, direction and support. For smaller to mid-sized businesses this might only mean a short time each week or month to get what you and your team needs.
They might identify themselves as virtual, interim or as consultants. You'll find qualified, experienced and knowledge people available to help in all aspects of your business... financial, operational, leadership, human resources, sales and marketing, procurement and so on.
You may have heard this little story and it helps make two points.
The engineer was called in when a machine broke down. He walked into the factory and took a look, grabbed a hammer and hits the machine once. The machine starts right up.
The next day the company receives an invoice from the engineer for $5,000. The itemised invoice shows…. Hitting with Hammer: $5; Knowing where to hit: $4,995.
The first point is the value in knowledge and experience. Anyone could be hitting that machine, over and over. Sometimes they might hit the right spot after a lot of time but they might also cause more damage. It is worth paying for someone that gets the job done quickly and correctly.
The second point is only getting them to get the job done that adds value, or cuts cost. The engineer finished once the right spot was hit. They didn't keep paying him to tighten up bolts, clean and oil it. Engage these resources only for the value they bring.
Look at how you can engage the right people when they bring value you need.