It is vital for us to place the right people in the right place. And to do this, we want to know our people very well, but also our clients and their organization. People and organizations are our business. Even though we make it a point for ourselves, still, some misunderstandings go around about temporary support and, in this case, the matching procedure between the team/organization and the consultant.
Underneath we will state some popular beliefs about consulting, interim- and project management. With 17 years of experience in the business, our founder Jan De Lancker will disprove or confirm them with some extra clarification.
1. Interim managers need coaching
Every time someone new joins our team, on a temporary basis, we have to coach him. If we welcome someone to our team for only 3 to 6 months, we need time to coach him/her and the effort will be as great as the work that this person can get done.
“This is not true. We only work with people who either have many years of experience or who are really motivated and very eager to learn. Not everyone can join BrainTower that easily. We stand for highly talented people with the right mentality and the right motivation to do interim management. If one of ours joins your team, yes, you will have to explain your way of working, because this is different in every organisation. But our people are do-ers and have enough business insight to be focused on the right tasks. They have the can-do mentality and as such, they will ask questions when necessary but initiate quickly to move forward and to guarantee the continuity or to handle the priorities. They are independent and fast learners. So coaching will not be an issue at all!”
2. Consultants are often overqualified
We are afraid that if we hire someone from BrainTower, this person might be overqualified.
“Indeed, this is very often the case! But this is only an advantage, not a problem. BrainTower suggests fixed fees for specific jobs, independent of the number of years of experience of the consultant. Sometimes our consultants do get hired for a ‘lesser’ job and they agree with that. Because they want to put all their experience on the table and they know they will always find a challenge. They will try to make changes for the better in your organization because they know what they are talking about. They will come up with new ideas, they will coach without even being asked …. And they are operational in no time. They will bring a clear added value & creativity. Hiring overqualified people does not have any negative consequences.”
3. Our team sees consultants as a threat
We think that when we invite a consultant in our team, this person will be a threat to the other people in the team because of his/her experience. We cannot do that to our colleagues…
“Consultants will never be a real threat to your people. They chose to be a consultant for a clear reason: they need change. These are people who don’t want to work multiple years at one organization. They have totally different goals. So they should not be seen as a threat but rather as temporary reinforcement with a new, fresh and non-biased view towards your company, product or approach. People who are real employees of one organization can see each other as competition, but never the consultant. He or she is there temporary and has no other goal than to share his experience, to finish the project on time with the best results, to add value to the organization and afterwards, to go looking for another challenge.”
4. Interim managers won’t always match with the company culture
How can you know after one – maybe two – conversations that the person that you brought forward for one specific job opening as consultant/interim/project manager, can be a real match? A match with the team and most of all, with the company culture?
“Well, this is where our years of experience are really important. We – Caroline Vervaeke, Gerrit De Backer and me – are the ones searching out profiles to match the demand of the company and the company itself. This is our real business, people and companies. I already said that you cannot join BrainTower so easily. No, we first meet each other a few times and we really make it a point to know our consultants. What kind of people they are, in what kind of company they can thrive, with what kind of people they can work together. Can they work in a hierarchical company? Do they need clear job descriptions or do they like to figure out themselves where they can have the biggest impact? Everyone is different. And so is every company. Over the years we came to know our clients and of course also the companies. We like to maintain close contact with our consultants to get to know not only them, but also the place they are working at. This focus on the match between the consultant and the clients results in a high loyalty from our freelance consultants towards us, BrainTower.”
“When we get a possible assignment from a new client, we will always join our consultant when he/she first goes for an introductory meeting. That way, we get to see the new client, ‘feel’ the environment, and most of all, we get to start a cooperation on a really humane and sympathetic way. We always want to show that we care for both our clients and our consultant and for us, that is the only correct way to start working together. And of course, later on, we keep in touch with our client to follow-up the assignment, to hear about the results and the evolution of the mission, to be able to think along as true partners.”
5. Temporary forces are expensive
One major issue.. Price. Aren’t consultants/ interim- / project managers extremely expensive?
“Well, they are not cheap that’s for sure. But you should see everything in perspective. Most of the time our people are needed to ensure continuity in a business. If you can’t have continuity, this will also cost a business loads of money they could have gained if they had someone to fill that open spot. And also, they bring a new wind and creativity. They are not afraid to speak up and suggest changes or suggest rethinking something. You might get more out of their presence then just a spot that is being filled. Another remark: some companies compare the monthly fee with a gross salary, which is of course not correct. You have to take into account all other costs of an employee: social security, holidays, seniority, illness, equipment, … So yes, our people are more expensive on the short term, but on the long term, it certainly pays off!”