Tom Peruzzi's thoughts on digital, innovation, IT and operations

External help

Posted in organizational by opstakes on December 2, 2010

External help is always good … you were named as being worth getting support, you get external expertise and more work power and effort … Really? As I do external support for years I have one thing to say: If an organization cannot manage my external help than  I’m not worth being paid for. An external might have additional knowledge, he might have deep market insights, he might have extraordinary experience but he/she is still a person with human belongings, acceptance, communication and coordination.

So before bringing in external support ask yourself a question:

  • Is my organization ready to use them?
  • How will we manage them?
  • Do we have the proper security framework in place to share information and desktop with them?
  • Which capabilities do we grant?
  • Is it a task,  a project, an interims job and how to cover?
  • Do we have the proper legal framework?

If you can answer those easily than feel free to start using externals, if not think about how to best work with.

Next question is how to best find the correct partner of choice? Is it the fabulous 4 which best fit to your StartUp organization or should there an equal size between you and the external consultant company? Do you need expertise, market research or real working forces?  Do you want to support your organization or stress your organization?

There are tons of external consultants out there, all of them will show you that they are the correct ones, with exactly the experience you are looking for and with tons of currently free consultants perfectly fitting into your organization and with the exact requested skill level. Isn’t it amazing?

To be honest .. yes. We often fail if we cannot deliver the right person within right time, but we have never pimped CVs to get into a company. We often – and that is the funny part – see companies failing because time is much more important than trust. If you are under pressure, why will the wrong people be the better choice? Is it a matter of hope that the person will get better during the project? Or is it a mutual failing as you were the one who decided to work with?

Another risk often seen: you start with one consulting company, you are satisfied, the company too. Your orga changes, new people take over responsibility and they bring in new (their) externals. From that on the former external party gets the looser image, everything is proven twice and people stop routing important infos to the former consultant so there is no longer a chance to work properly. A quarter later the former consultant company is out of contract and the new (buddied) one is the big star, they haven’t changed anything but they had the stronger buddy.
Think about the following: you always meet twice!

The last external help, the interims with hidden agenda. You often get asked as external to do the bad staff, firing people, reorg things like that. The longer you do the more you start reacting and healing open wounds than acting and going forward. This is what I kall the “no prisoner” mode. Nobody likes this except the one who gave you the order. But same again here: You always meet twice!

There are plenty of reasons to not use externals (costs, culture ….) and plenty of reasons to use them (additional resources, market knowhow, expertise). Always think about whether it is a permanent issue (internal) or an additional (external) one. And stay fair to you, your organization and the external partner – you always meet twice!


2 Responses

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  1. Leonia Anglen said, on December 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i came to “return the favour”.I am trying to find things to improve my blog!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!


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