I had a call recently from a recruitment business owner/manager, J. We had arranged (and rearranged) a meeting to follow up on the one we had in a few months earlier. At that point, J had “just wanted to get through the holiday season before embarking on any new initiatives”.
This time, J wanted to postpone as he had suffered a series of issues over the summer period (3 staff left, one went on repeated and suspicious sick leave, fees and activity had plummeted). He felt if he could just get back on track, we could discuss working together, perhaps in the New Year.
This is a clever, successful recruiter who had set up his own business. He would not recognise himself as a procrastinator. Yet being busy was getting him nowhere.
I read him my notes from our last meeting. They identified four important (not apparently urgent), priority issues he needed to tackle to achieve this year’s business goals. Every one of those four issues was implicated in the crises he had suffered over the summer. He hadn’t addressed them because he “didn’t have time”. These delays were important factors in the staff resignations.
Over the last quarter, we all had the same amount of time. But some business leaders have identified and worked on important (not necessarily urgent) priorities over the last few months, and some haven’t.
And I had to point out to J that the day was never going to come when everything was running smoothly.
About 10 days later, one of his (former) staff contacted me. The reason she had left? “Nothing ever changed”.
A business is like a building. Without routine maintenance and improvements, the building will start to fall apart. At first, it will just look out of date. Less desirable. Pretty soon things stop working efficiently. Then the structure starts to rot and infestation creeps in. Finally it comes to the attention of vandals and thieves.
If you don’t address things before they happen, and keep moving your business forward, you’ll always be lurching from crisis to crisis, managing on the back foot. And that effect can snowball as team members
- lose their colleagues,
- lose market traction and
- lose faith in you as a leader
Here are four things you can do, whatever the unknowns about world economics:
- Fix yourself up with a well thought-through business plan for the next three years.
- Ensure your staff understand what the priorities are, and why there are some things you won’t do.
- Don’t delay in realising any sales advantage you have and building it in to your processes; make it visible and understandable to your clients and candidates and make sure it happens every time.
- Develop your leadership skills and the skills of your team. It’s essential.
If you are finding it hard to see the wood for the trees, contact Alison for a diagnostic, to build a prioritised plan and practical help in getting there. What are you waiting for?
Alison Humphries (MA Oxon, FIRP, CIPD, DipT&D) has over 30 years’ experience in recruitment, as a director of 4 listed businesses and most recently led Liquid Personnel as MD through a period of exceptional growth culminating in a trade sale to ICS Group in 2016. For several years she has worked with multiple recruitment businesses across all sectors to help them achieve business goals, improve market penetration and value. Her L&D expertise plays a significant role in staff engagement and business performance.
Contact her today using the form here or by calling 07770 677557.