The New Year often gives people the opportunity to review and reflect on their lives. For businesses the requirement to step back and take a long, hard look at what the organisation is doing is just as important. In smaller businesses, SRF has seen the CEO’s holiday break often cause a radical shakeup and for larger organisations a constant review process can sometimes hamper the ability to actually complete any major tasks.
So, one should review, like most things, in moderation and this is where outside advisors can be very helpful in providing a different perspective. You do not need to hire them just for the review, but you can use the firms which already supply you with expertise. Much like the 360-degree part of appraisals, you can ask your external advisors some questions about how they see your performance.
Over the years SRF has been asked to participate in many re-branding exercises and the best outcomes have been when a panel of informed experts have been involved. Obviously, marketing agencies and departments need to be involved but illuminating insights can be found by talking to lawyers, outsourced HR providers, bankers and accountants.
Some of the most interesting information gathering projects have been when potential purchasers or investors have been very thorough in their due diligence – to the extent that we have been interviewed for our take from the perspective of long-term PR advisors. Often the questions in these sessions have been the most informed and more often not, the most strategic.
Impartial and Informed Advice
For a large part of our day SRF provide advice, informed by our experience and knowledge of the client. Sometimes the advice is challenging to hear but as consultants, SRF can be impartial. There is a wealth of professional feedback that can be sourced about any business. Communication specialists have educated most senior management about the importance of stakeholders and SRF would make the case that any supplying advisory services is a stakeholder. The difference is that many of these advisers are trained to present information.
The word review can also worry outsourced experts, as they may feel their contract is threatened but in reality, a structured approach which involves your advisors is a good discipline to adopt. So how often should you review? It does depend on the timescales of the current business plan but once a year is a good start.