Coffee & Macaroons

It's a Reputation Thing...

Recently I was chatting to a contact who I had been introduced to by a work associate and just in conversation, as you do, I asked what his experience had been with utilising the services of HR consultants. Rolling his eyes skywards then quickly adjusting himself - remembering that I was one of those, he went on to explain his reaction.

In his experience he relayed, the people he had engaged to help him align his HR challenges to the opportunities and objectives of the business, made things more complicated for him. Not offering any more he gazed into his coffee quite solemnly, but I, wanting to know much, much more, asked him to elaborate - whilst offering him Italian macaroon to lift his spirits. 

This very senior and competent manager went on to relay that is all he had required was a little help and guidance with getting his 'ducks in a row'. He had huge amounts of experience and some sound ideas on how to move forward but required someone to bounce his thoughts around with, challenge his thinking and to build on the ideas that he already had.

Instead he came away with fewer thoughts than he started with, confused with those that were left scattering in the wind, an abundance of 'add ons' and 'plug ins' to systems and processes that required further 'add ons' and 'plug ins' to implement effectively and no further along with his quest.  He declared, quite exasperatingly, that they bid him farewell, wished him good luck with his bounty and left him a good few thousand dollars heavier on the bottom line.

So why am I relaying to story to you? Because in the main, this had been my experience as a HR manager and also, the same for many of the business and HR leaders that I have the pleasure of knowing over the years.

As a HR consultant myself, my philosophy and practice is to listen carefully to the brief, develop the proposal based on that brief, adjust the brief where necessary at the outset and only by mutual agreement. Then deliver to THAT brief.  Keeping things simple, uncomplicated and under control - no blindsiding with 'add ons' or 'plug ins'.  Leaving behind what wasn't there before - easy to manage, easy to sustain and most importantly, exactly what the client required.

And I never, ever underestimate the value of an Italian macaroon over coffee.