First, let’s look at the relationship between corporate profitability and team building. When I was in the private sector, I worked at a small computer software company that specialized in marketing, sales, accounting, and customer service. During one of our quarterly meetings we had to decide which quarter we would increase the headcount in our sales force. Our CEO was against increasing head count, and the CFO was adamant that we should stick with our existing head count. We went back and forth for several months, until finally we compromised and decided to hire a consulting firm to help us out.
When I first heard about this consulting firm, I thought it was a great idea because the consultants would be experts at understanding the corporate profitability picture, and what other companies were doing to improve their performance. So, what did they bring to the table during our first meeting? They sent in a guy from the firm, whose name was Scott Ginsberg. Mr. Ginsberg is an engineering graduate, and a former junior engineer in the aerospace industry. He was supposed to be a great consultant, and bring a fresh perspective to our team.
During his first meeting, he presented a very “business like” approach to our team. The CFO and I thought that this may be helpful, but only because he was a “former corporate profitability Consultant.” I thought it was a poor attempt at communication on our behalf, because his style did not help our team to learn anything new. His entire presentation basically consisted of talking about corporate profitability and offering various benefits to doing the right thing. He made it sound as if there was no need for us to do anything.
Once we got over that, we started talking to him about what it really means to be a corporate consultant. We told him that we were trying to learn more about the importance of strategic planning in the company’s success and how it related to our own personal success. Mr. Ginsberg listened and repeated the same points over again. Eventually, he got so frustrated with us that he said that we did not understand what it was that we were planning to do. He asked us to draw up a plan and suggested that we hire a consultant to help us.
This is when we got scared. Mr. Ginsberg had clearly painted us in a negative way, and we didn’t want to work with someone who was only after profits for himself. Our first consultation consisted of the usual corporate sustainability strategies like annual company evaluations, benchmarking, corporate responsibility programs, and profit sharing. We knew that these were fine things, but didn’t want to get wrapped up in the process. After all, we were corporate planning consultants!
We ended up hiring a consulting firm, called Strategic Consulting International (SRI). We hired the perfect person for the job, someone who was willing to walk through the processes with us, explain them, make recommendations, and be hands-on in his role as a consultant. This is the type of person that an organization wants on their board.
After a few months of consulting with SRI, we are now implementing two corporate sustainability strategies. The first is an initiative that focuses on improving our understanding of human resources. The second is an initiative that targets improving our understanding of how production is managed within the company. There are many people involved in making these two strategies happen, and the plan is to have one manager dedicated to them at all times. These are both important corporate sustainability strategies, and the whole process has been amazing. The results speak for themselves.