Using Outside Advisors

Do you use outside advisors? If not, why?

Most well run companies, both big and small, do everything they can to stand out from their competitors to grow and prosper. They find and retain the best people that they can find. They motivate and train their people to do the best job that they can. They use win-win comp plans and career ladders to reward those who excel. They use modern marketing tools to grow both sales and profits. They reinvest their retained earnings in the company. They do this and a lot more if they are not insular and are able to accept new ideas and are not so myopic to believe that if an idea was not invented within the company, it won’t work in their organization.

All well-run companies accept the fact that they do not have all the answers, even with the best and brightest on board. They reach out to outside experts and find out what they know to make sure that they have not missed some new concept, the competition is not working on something new, there is a better way of doing things, or just maybe they need verification that, in fact, they still are leaders of the pack. These are some of the reasons that all well-run companies use industry experts and advisors.

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There are many people entrenched in the companies that they work for who do not want an independent set of eyes looking at the company — either because they are afraid that the company’s “trade secrets” will be disseminated or that they have missed something that an outside advisor may come up with.

It goes without saying that one only works with a trusted source and has legal protection in the form of enforceable non-disclosure documents to mitigate against transport of company secrets and proprietary information. The CEO should not be concerned about having missed something if he has a good relationship with his board, and as it is better to find out about things early and correct them than ignoring them at their peril.

There are, of course, several types of outside advisors — from legal, accounting and risk management, to product development, public relations and management consulting. It is one of the jobs of the CEO to make an assessment of where the greatest needs are and then to engage those with the expertise and unbiased view to provide him or her with an assessment of what improvements are needed and how to undertake remedial action if this is required. Finding the experts is not usually hard to do when one has the will to do so.

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Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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