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Hire someone you don't like to improve your company
03/11/2019 Doug Beckley

Years ago, I hired a personal trainer to help me get into better shape. His name was Craig. I hated Craig. He would show up at my house at dawn, always early for the appointment I nearly canceled, with this toothy smile and offensively positive attitude. And then, quite efficiently, he would kick my ass. Lunges till I cried, crunches till I blacked out, and boxing mitt drills until I couldn’t feel my arms. Then, mercifully, he would leave. Right before I fired him, I started feeling, well, great. My days were more productive, I dropped a bunch of weight, and I developed a better health routine. Ironically, there is not an area of my life this profoundly positive experience hasn’t impacted.

What does this have to do with your business? Well, it’s a (somewhat self-serving) pitch for why you should hire an outside business consultant or professional coach. A good one can, suite simply, change your business. They will see things you don’t. They will make you do things you don’t like. And they will bring about results you didn’t think possible.

Craig asked me about 300 questions and watched me workout. He gave me exercises that eliminated back and shoulder pain I’d had for years. He helped me change my eating habits in ways that were sustainable. He got me in great condition. And, he showed up to every appointment, whether I wanted him to or not.

A good business consultant likely won’t be an expert in your industry, nor should they be. Most business problems have nothing to do with technical or industry specific issues. They don’t have to do with business systems; they have to do with human systems. Do you have unengaged employees that keep making the same mistakes? Is your profitability less than you know it should be? Are your managers/supervisors unable to get results from their people? These are all examples of broken human systems that can be repaired.

A good consultant or coach will fix these problems by doing three things:

  1. Diagnose what the real problems are (separate symptoms from root cause)
  2. Create a plan to fix the problems (defined, actionable plans to change behavior)
  3. Hold you and your people accountable for implementation (work the plan)

Why can’t you do this yourself? The answer is: because you haven’t yet, and whatever prevented you likely won’t change. You need an objective, experienced change agent that will make you work on, not just in your business. Not unlike Craig, they add three new things to the mix.

  1. They see things you don’t. The right consultant/coach will understand in a few weeks (or days) the root cause of your biggest problems. They don’t have your blind spots.
  2. They have expertise in human systems. This may involve better hiring, training people on how to manage conflict, or helping managers understand what really creates human motivation.
  3. They show up and hold you accountable: Is it your busy season? Are you in the middle of a big project? Is everyone working overtime? Yeah, there is never a good time. Are we going to fix the problems or enable their perpetuation?

Whether you call me or someone else, a good consultant doesn’t charge to sit down and discuss the areas you want to fix - and map out a solution focused game plan. If yours is like most organizations, this process will be very people focused, may seem like a luxury, and will result in some awkward conversations. It will also increase cash flow, reduce stress and create surpluses of time for you and your people.

Like my experience with Craig, it won’t seem like it should work. But if you spend some time being uncomfortable, allow your thinking to expand, and devote yourself to improving the human systems, you and your business will reach a new, high performing normal you never thought possible.

If you want to discuss how a process like this can work for you, call me at 702-379-6524.