This is the fundamental question, the answer to which will help you move your agency forward. Once you have that answer, ask yourself “Over the past 12 months, what has it cost to do nothing about this situation?”
Agencies often contact Agency ADvisor in search of an independent, third party opinion, to provide answers to these questions.
Almost always, after working with an agency, the principals will tell me “You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn what you didn’t know.” In other words, most of the time, you are too entrenched in your agency to see the big issues and determine how to improve.
Daymond John—one of the investors in ABC’s series “Shark Tank”— once told one of the entrepreneurs, “It is what you think you know that will prevent you from learning.” Sometimes agency leaders need objective and unbiased help getting things on track.
When your agency is faced with unresolved issues, a professional advisor may be the answer. In the end, you will save both time and money by bringing an advisor in to help your agency address a current issue or avoid costly decisions in the future. A qualified professional advisor, looking at your situation objectively, will be able to identify and implement the solution to dilemmas quickly and efficiently.
The trick is— knowing what types of situations justify a professional advisor’s services. Below are some basic guidelines for when you should bring in a professional advisor:
• When you need an objective point of view. If you are too close to an issue, it is human nature to favor a predetermined solution rather than create a better solution.
• When the problem requires special expertise, such as knowing which Agency Management System is right for your agency, or streamlining your workflow.
• When your agency is facing a major situation, or when it seems that everything happens in crisis-management mode, such as consistently not completing jobs on time, on scope or on budget.
If your situation fits into any or all of these categories, a professional advisor’s services are probably a worthwhile investment. A professional advisor brings to your agency:
• Accountability – Professional advisors are accountable for getting you results, which means significant savings when compared to in-house efforts.
• Objectivity – To see the situation through fresh, unbiased eyes, without an ulterior agenda or any preconceived notions that internal people may have.
• Anonymity – The ability to gain information within ethical limits but without revealing identities. This helps create a “safe” environment for your staff to discuss concerns honestly.
• Experience in interpreting information — to go deeper than what is on the surface.
• Creative and unique solutions drawn from a wide experience base.
The most difficult part of using a professional advisor is avoiding the organizational inertia that your agency naturally has. This inertia will prevent you from implementing the recommended changes.
Bringing in an outside professional advisor will provide you a resource to help you stay on the path to increased profitability, productivity and efficiency. Most agencies that have utilized a professional advisor have seen sustainable growth, increased profits and higher talent retention.