Our family business rarely used outside consultants. I think that’s true of most family businesses. In our business we had over 75 years of success so there was a lot of evidence to suggest we didn’t need outside help.
At one point our main manufacturer, Steelcase, insisted we employ an outside consultant. Working with a consultant had a big impact on how we worked together and ultimately our long-term success.
Here are six reasons you should consider bringing in outside resources:
1. Another Set of Eyes
I use the sports analogy as I think it can help us understand the situation. Take my golf game for instance — I’m hitting the golf ball yet it’s really hard for me to gain good perspective on what I’m doing wrong.
My coach on the other hand, can stand five feet behind me and see things in ways that are impossible for me to see. Furthermore, when he uses a video, it gives me a chance for the two of us to look and see what’s happening in a way that we can make significant improvements.
2. Another Set of Ears
So often as families we get entrenched in our own personal stories about what’s happening and why things don’t change.
When family members start telling me their stories I am able to call them on their stories or challenge some of the so-called facts of their story.
Many times, when they hear themselves tell the story to an outsider, they can start to see some of the flaws in their own thinking. This allows them to start to question their story and create a new story.
3. Another Mind for New Ideas
Because my golf coach watches golf swings every day, he’s able to bring new and innovative ideas that I never would have thought of in terms of how I approach the game.
It’s the same thing in your family business — you have a set amount of information. An outsider can bring in a whole new set of ideas and tools to help move your team forward.
4. A Defined Process for Improvement
As a family we may have come up with a good idea or two on our own. However, when we worked with the consultant, his ongoing effort and structured program allowed us to create more continuous learning which, of course, had a bigger impact.
5. Accountability for Results
My golf coach continues to ask me about my scores and if they are improving. An outsider should be able to help your team set goals and hold all of you accountable to achieving new results.
6. The Return on Investment
The International Coach Federation hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers to create a study of the return on investment on coaching and corporations. They found that there was a 7 to 1 return on investment.
For every dollar you put into outside help, you should yield increased profitability and effectiveness.
What’s at Stake?
Most importantly you should be thinking about what’s at stake for the success of your business and your family. For so many families there is everything at stake in terms of the family’s long-term success and financial security.
When you think of it in that perspective, it helps you realize you should bring all the tools you can to the table to help ensure your long-term success.
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.