A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s

road-sign-63983_640

Working for years in a consultative sales role I’ve come to learn that the companies I find that really need my help, aren’t always the best companies to work with.  You walk through the door and the receptionist is opening and date stamping invoices for accounts payable.  The aging report is a spreadsheet passed around to the different departments to add their “hot” vendors on.  What they need is not on the same planet with what they are willing to accomplish.  A company having the willingness to add, improve, and or reflect on its processes, is a trait that is best suited for a successful client/consultant relationship.  My most successful customers have been the ones who told me at our first meeting, that they have spent a lot of time creating and building their improvement processes, which they don’t think I can offer them anything new, but would like to hear what I have to say.  These are companies that are not afraid of discovery.  They may have the latest automation and leanest staffing. On the surface it may look like there is nothing to offer, however these are the folks that always say there is room for improvement.  It stems from the culture of the organization.  A culture that rewards those who are willing to expose a weakness.

Yes, there is a Chris Wilkins story.    

A few years ago I met with a company that told me they didn’t need what I was selling, but was interested in meeting me anyway.  The meeting was with one recommender from each cross functional group and the decision maker.  For a first meeting?  Yes.  They were inviting me to see their decision process and providing me with an opportunity to be a part of it.  Each person told me what they did and even included their most recent project.  The decision maker gave me the parameters of any solution’s ROI.  Are you kidding me?  The director of their logistics group, my original contact, told me that they created a few years ago the automation I was pitching.  Not knowing what else to say, I asked if they would be willing to let me do a business case on their current supply chain management process, to give them a documented flow of their processes.  They thought it to be a good idea as it would give some outside perspective of their process management solution design.  During the discovery process we uncovered some things that the director of logistics found to be troubling.  The automated reporting solution they designed a few years earlier had a front end process that had broken down to what amounted to a triple entry data keying process by folks who shouldn’t be doing that.  We developed a solution to feed the reporting environment with invoice data from the vendors, which would remove the need for triple keying.  The decision maker approved the project and within weeks we were up and running.

This company was not afraid to look at itself to determine what, if anything can be improved.  The key cultural substance to this organization is, they didn’t see it as wrong, but as needing to be corrected or improved.

The company in my story provides opportunity in the space you don’t initially see upon a first glance. Conversely there are companies that I would consider to be completely dysfunctional and their staff spends most of their time in triage, looking for the worst case to react to next.

That is the company I choose to not engage.  These are the companies that do not want to fix their problems.  Their problems exist for a reason and there is a root cause to this dysfunction and typically it’s cultural.

There is a saying that provides further insight into the existence of these companies.

“A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s”.  And you know who the “C’s” are hiring?

The day to day activity is being managed by the “D’s”.

They won’t acknowledge the problems.  They will block you at every turn.  They are more interested in covering their butts.  Fear runs these companies.  As a consultant, you may look at these companies and see this as the opportunity to be your finest hour as a cat herder, making your brand.  Don’t.  It’s not worth it.  If you are serious about the integrity of your brand, you will look at these companies and run.  The work you will get will never result in anything measurable and meaningful.

A forward thinking company loves having a measurable solution they can point to.  It is not only personally satisfying for everyone, but can be beneficial to the overall relationship.  The “A” company will use it to drive more value.  They will look to their new trusted advisor to assist them in moving forward.

That is what I do and why I do it.

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A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s

road-sign-63983_640

Working for years in a consultative sales role I’ve come to learn that the companies I find that really need my help, aren’t always the best companies to work with.  You walk through the door and the receptionist is opening and date stamping invoices for accounts payable.  The aging report is a spreadsheet passed around to the different departments to add their “hot” vendors on.  What they need is not on the same planet with what they are willing to accomplish.  A company having the willingness to add, improve, and or reflect on its processes, is a trait that is best suited for a successful client/consultant relationship.  My most successful customers have been the ones who told me at our first meeting, that they have spent a lot of time creating and building their improvement processes, which they don’t think I can offer them anything new, but would like to hear what I have to say.  These are companies that are not afraid of discovery.  They may have the latest automation and leanest staffing. On the surface it may look like there is nothing to offer, however these are the folks that always say there is room for improvement.  It stems from the culture of the organization.  A culture that rewards those who are willing to expose a weakness.

Yes, there is a Chris Wilkins story.    

A few years ago I met with a company that told me they didn’t need what I was selling, but was interested in meeting me anyway.  The meeting was with one recommender from each cross functional group and the decision maker.  For a first meeting?  Yes.  They were inviting me to see their decision process and providing me with an opportunity to be a part of it.  Each person told me what they did and even included their most recent project.  The decision maker gave me the parameters of any solution’s ROI.  Are you kidding me?  The director of their logistics group, my original contact, told me that they created a few years ago the automation I was pitching.  Not knowing what else to say, I asked if they would be willing to let me do a business case on their current supply chain management process, to give them a documented flow of their processes.  They thought it to be a good idea as it would give some outside perspective of their process management solution design.  During the discovery process we uncovered some things that the director of logistics found to be troubling.  The automated reporting solution they designed a few years earlier had a front end process that had broken down to what amounted to a triple entry data keying process by folks who shouldn’t be doing that.  We developed a solution to feed the reporting environment with invoice data from the vendors, which would remove the need for triple keying.  The decision maker approved the project and within weeks we were up and running.

This company was not afraid to look at itself to determine what, if anything can be improved.  The key cultural substance to this organization is, they didn’t see it as wrong, but as needing to be corrected or improved.

The company in my story provides opportunity in the space you don’t initially see upon a first glance. Conversely there are companies that I would consider to be completely dysfunctional and their staff spends most of their time in triage, looking for the worst case to react to next.

That is the company I choose to not engage.  These are the companies that do not want to fix their problems.  Their problems exist for a reason and there is a root cause to this dysfunction and typically it’s cultural.

There is a saying that provides further insight into the existence of these companies.

“A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s”.  And you know who the “C’s” are hiring?

The day to day activity is being managed by the “D’s”.

They won’t acknowledge the problems.  They will block you at every turn.  They are more interested in covering their butts.  Fear runs these companies.  As a consultant, you may look at these companies and see this as the opportunity to be your finest hour as a cat herder, making your brand.  Don’t.  It’s not worth it.  If you are serious about the integrity of your brand, you will look at these companies and run.  The work you will get will never result in anything measurable and meaningful.

A forward thinking company loves having a measurable solution they can point to.  It is not only personally satisfying for everyone, but can be beneficial to the overall relationship.  The “A” company will use it to drive more value.  They will look to their new trusted advisor to assist them in moving forward.

That is what I do and why I do it.

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