Before I continue I have to declare an interest, of course. I am an ‘outsider’ for those companies who employ my consultancy. I will return to that point at the end of this blog entry.
Bringing in outsiders is an interesting step to take because it’s often expensive financially… and in terms of morale.
The first bit’s self-evident… but I should explain the morale bit. There resides in your workforce a collective knowledge about your business that you cannot replicate. No amount of briefing will ever bring outsiders up to the same point of knowledge of your business and marketplace that your employees have.
Why then ask someone outside your business to consider an issue when you’ve probably already got the answer on your doorstep?
I think the answer lies in the ‘t’ word… ‘trust’. Many business leaders have a psychological mistrust about what their employees might tell them about their business and a massive willingness to believe an outsider. Employees therefore see a consultant brought in and morale dips because they feel their own standing in their business undermined. This usually happens when the business is in the cost-cutting part of the ‘investment/cost-cutting cycle’… so the expenditure on outsiders sits uneasily alongside internal budget cuts, further undermining morale.
And the morale of this story (sorry… puns are a weakness!). Look inside your business before you look outside.
Oh… and why am I different?Because I work with you as the leader… and am prepared to tell you how it is, as I’ve done in this article. That’s something you really might not get from your employees.
Tags: blog entry business leaders chief executive collective knowledge consultancy dips doorstep internal budget managing director marketplace mistrust outsider outsiders puns trust willingness workforce