I’m not talking about fixing broken light bulbs or servers, either.
How many consultants have you brought in to your company to “fix things” over the last three years? How many sales trainers have you thrown at your sales team, yet again, hoping that this time what they taught would stick?
The root cause of what’s broken isn’t the responsibility of the consultant. It starts with you and your leadership.
You are familiar with the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme. You know the last line: “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” It is not just a simple children’s rhyme. There’s a long history tying this allegory to leadership and politics.
The Humpty Dumpty Leader is a Figurehead. Her style of leadership makes her enamored by her ability to apply consultants as-needed, periodically, to address why revenue generation is stalled. The discussion gets too close to home, and the CEO Leader’s office. The latest consultant falls into disfavor. The project is suddenly “completed.”
The Humpty Dumpty Leader brings all his direct charges to the table. Yet when the consultant asks for everyone’s insights surrounding the context of specific issues, everyone’s eyes turn to the CEO Leader. These direct charges may have opinions which aren’t in lockstep with their Leader’s, but they certainly aren’t going to voice them. Aloud that is.
The Humpty Dumpty Leader regards his business’s problems as a direct result of all of his employees not doing their jobs adequately. During the course of the consultancy, there even is some “Off with their heads” as scapegoated, under-performing employees are jettisoned by the CEO.
It is difficult for many employees to thrive in that situation.
The Humpty Dumpty Leader has placed accountability for the current state-of-her-business on everyone else’s shoulders but her own. Employees frantically create systems and processes to override lack of direction by the CEO. Everyone is making an end-run around everyone else.
Your employees feel as though they are constantly walking over eggshells, hoping not to break anything else.
You can’t expect other people to fix your business if you haven’t bought into the notion that you, as the Humpty Dumpty Leader, are the root cause of what’s happening.
That’s why you keep repeating the same routine, over and over again. One of these days, you will run out of folks who can mend the situation.
My advice: Before you bring in yet another consultant, make yourself accountable first and foremost for the past, current and future state of your business. Even if you don’t like what you see.
Fix yourself first. Now that’s a leadership step in the right direction.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a professional development coach and management consultant. Her Workshops result in Playbooks for startups and small to mid-size companies who want to grow, expand and sustain their business, but are wrestling with unpredictable revenue streams. Then she brings these Playbooks to life in their organizations. Her Playbook on leadership, business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.