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You may know the old proverb about the shoemaker’s children going barefoot, it’s not an uncommon phenomenon in business too. When you’re busy doing work for your clients – particularly as a small company or a startup – you rarely get the space to turn your lens and expertise on yourself.
But making time to work on our own business is what we regularly try to do – from both a process and practice point of view – to keep us close to the client experience, lead by example and make sure our own business doesn’t get stuck in the status quo.
It’s always encouraging to see our clients’ excitement at embracing transformation of their organisations. This is often coupled with an urgency to start their journey as soon as possible. And it was this urgency that brought about a need for transformation within our own company, in particular in operations and finance, to allow us to support these increasing demands.
We needed to review our own internal systems to achieve a smooth and swift contract and purchase order process and we knew that we needed to be faster at due diligence – some of the things that seem to ‘happen in the background’ but are a critical part of onboarding clients, and seamlessly kicking off new projects.
We started by identifying some key bottlenecks, which led us to upskill our team leaders so that they were equipped with the tools and tips to start the contract process earlier in the engagement with new projects, taking some of the pressure off our Ops team.
For my part, coming from a traditional legal background where everything was very formal and process driven, I’ve had to adapt to the way that a young consultancy works. I’ve had to get my head around working collaboratively, and using software that was completely new to me – like Google docs/sheets and Trello boards.
If we want our clients to embrace change and transformation, we have to lead by example. I’ve learned first hand how great it feels to be able to work together on projects, achieving more and faster, and the value of input from a variety of personalities, with different skills and tools, creating more user-friendly systems and making life easier.