Episode 118

John Barker: 12 Reasons You Need A Management Consultant

In this episode of The Business Samurai Podcast, John gives his reasons why it is a good idea to bring in an outside management consultant to help get your business unstuck, scale, streamline, and overall get to your overall objectives at a faster pace.

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Transcript
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Welcome to the business Samurai podcast.

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I'm your host.

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John Barker today is our first real episode of it's more of an opinion I

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would say versus an educational thing.

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And I thought it was a good way as I do management consulting

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of 12 reasons why you need a consultant and not everybody does.

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I think there's periods when you're in some growing and learning

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phases that you actually do learn quicker by failing on your own as

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you're starting to build things.

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But as the company starts getting.

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Getting cold, you're getting into seven figures or multi seven

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figure revenue streams that I did.

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You've been in the weeds so long.

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It's hard to extract yourself from them as a manager of maybe a team or even the

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owner of the organization of it itself.

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And it's and you want somebody that's not.

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Bobos uncles, brothers, sisters, advice.

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He heard once from a tic-tac video coming in there to assist you.

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Once you've reached that level.

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You want somebody that's been there before?

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Has the credentials has the experience to back that up?

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So these are in no particular order.

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And it's my reasons why I think once you get to a certain level that it's

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good to have an external consultant to be able to bounce things off.

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So let's blitz through these real quick, number one, you

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get to accelerate the learning.

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In business time is money and the faster to be able to break through a plateau,

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figure out a bottleneck is finding someone with the experience to be able to do that.

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And it's harder to do that with somebody that, that's internal, if

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you're so up close to the problem and.

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The person with the experience can help guide you through there at a much,

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much faster pace, fix things faster and make you more agile in the process.

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But by having that experience and accelerate your learning curve as

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a business owner, number two, it's rise above corporate politics.

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Seen a a lot of.

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Corporate politics in my life where there's power struggles internally

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there's dynamics that, as somebody coming in and you're viewing this going,

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oh no wonder you guys are struggling.

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The, there's maybe a leadership structure problem.

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There's a bunch of things, but essentially it comes to

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personalities fighting each other.

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And as a consultant coming.

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It should be all about the mission, all about getting value-based outcomes

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and breaking up those log jams, because you're not subjected to them.

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You're only beholden to, whoever brought you in typically the

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ownership or executive team C-suite to come in and solve those issues.

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Not get mired down into the weeds of the corporate politics

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between maybe two teams that are.

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Number three, and we've alluded to this before.

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They're an expert advisor.

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They got years of experience, specialized training in what they do.

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Think tax accountants, CPA firms, you may not need one on all the time.

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So you go find the one that has that experience that can help

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you get through there through a process, in, in my case, I'm.

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Certified in degreed, in, in business and project management, cybersecurity

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and technology and being able to pay, bring all of those together

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under the umbrella of smoothing out business operations to help you scale.

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So if you've never done that before, and you find yourself in a rapid growth

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situation, you've reached a point of going I'm stuck and we flat-lined here.

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You want somebody that's got that years of experience to be able to come in there and

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say, okay, we see what you got going on.

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Here's where the problems are, right.

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Here's where the bottlenecks are at.

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And you're gonna hear me use the term bottlenecks quite frequently.

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Here's how we're going to break through.

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Again, going back to the experience they bring industry best practices.

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I'm part of PMI project management Institute with a PMP certification.

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I mold that to as a best practice to.

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Project to a team I'm also now taking that and applying it to the

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organization as a whole, think of it like portfolio management, you may

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have a couple of lines of business, a few revenue streams in there.

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What is that?

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Essentially?

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It is a portfolio management process for your business where you've got accounting.

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You've got budgets, you've got internal, external stakeholders.

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You've got communication plans.

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So you want industry best practices that can be molded to fit your situation.

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Where there are no, I don't want to say there's right and wrong to what

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to what you're trying to accomplish, but there's probably most efficient

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and resources will help you get there, but you want to align it to a good

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person will align it to a good state.

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Number five, accurate execution oversight.

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Again, going back to the PMI PMP thing.

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If you've got something that a consultant is helping you with,

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they can provide the oversight.

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They can provide the structure for your team to execute those projects and ensure

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the changes that you were looking for, an acted properly fast in the way that they

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need to be again for you to get success.

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A nice view of the forest.

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Consultants are not the firefighters.

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They bring in a fresh perspective and they get your mission back on track.

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This is something I've seen before where the company, they, again,

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you're starting to get your hit.

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You've hit seven figures.

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You've hit, $3 million, $5 million, $10 million.

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And the ownership the team is so ingrained on firefighting, fixing that

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next client, the growth stagnates.

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And it's good to be able to have somebody coming in.

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Bring that fresh perspective in there and be able to sit there

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and go, Hey, all right, guys, you got to keep pressing forward.

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Yes, you do got to do the firefighting, but there needs to be some time

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dedicated to setting up to take you from that 10 to 20 to $50 million range by

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putting in the frameworks in there and recognizing where you're getting stuck.

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Seeing this quite frankly, I've seen this a lot.

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Yeah.

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They are an agent of change.

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You do not want to bring a consultant into your operation to sit there

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and just pat you on the back there, recommending new advice is pretty

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much the exact definition of what a consultancy is when you go look that up.

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So don't engage with an agent of change.

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If you're not ready for the change.

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And in my case, I'm getting ready to implement a pretty.

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Extensive questionnaire because as kind of purposeful friction I know

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some other people that are, that have done this to a great success, because

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if you're in such a state of needing change or you think you do if it's

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that, if you found somebody, you truly.

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And it is that painful for you.

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You'll go through those steps.

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And that's one way for me to vet that you truly want the change that you're speaking

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for, not a pat on the back, not getting caught up in your internal dynamics,

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but you really want to make that.

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A consultant will assist you in navigating the decision-making process.

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A decision unmade is a stressor.

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I, there are people that I know that run small businesses that will

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sit there and not make the call that they know they need to make.

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I would say I'm even guilty of this at times where I've reached out to other

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people and say, what do you think?

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And they're like, you know what you need to do, make the call.

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Why'd you wait.

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And so they can help you work internally to combat that struggle or bring your

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teams together to reach a consensus in the direction you need to go.

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But at the end of the day, it is still your decision.

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There's been times that I have been brought in where

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I did not feel comfortable.

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I was like, they wanted to offload the decision making to me.

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And it's it's not my company.

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It's this is what I would do if I was in your situation.

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And here is why, but it's on you as the owner or the leader of your team or your

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department, depending on how someone like me is necessarily engaged with you to go.

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You're the one that have to live with this day in and day out.

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It's still your decision at the end of the day, but I can assist you.

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With making the decision that you feel is best appropriate.

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Pattern recognizer.

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This is what is great about having somebody outside of your organization,

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come in to help break up again.

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Those log jams having been in, worked in over a hundred environments.

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I can sit there and now friends of mine used to joke with me that I

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could almost predict the future, but I had seen these patterns.

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And right now, I feel like that's a lost art.

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There, there are, it's one of the times, it's one of the

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reasons I started the podcast.

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Again, it's so you can take the principles that somebody may be doing

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in a marketing company and apply it to your software as a service company.

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That there are principles are inherent to go, oh, that works.

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How can I take that principle, that framework and apply it to what I'm doing.

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That's making them successful.

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And I, and that is what a good consultant can do after having

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been in a bunch of environments.

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I have met a lot of people that have worked in gigantic organizations.

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That I want a job that where I would have like 20 responsibilities, that

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person had only experienced the one.

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So they didn't have that pattern recognition, the building and that

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ability to apply those principles.

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So a good consultant will have had that experience.

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They're going to bring other industry connections in there.

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So in my case I don't like doing compliance work with cybersecurity.

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I like when implementing The cultural changes.

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I still would like to find another word for culture.

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When somebody comes in saying, you've gotta be compliant and here's your NIST

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801 71, you've got a hundreds of controls.

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And there's three ways that you've got to validate these things, but the company in

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and of itself operationally is immature.

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The tech is not in place.

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There's no standard operating procedures everywhere that's coming in out of the

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gate with that is going to freak them out.

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So in my case, I like to come in let's evaluate, make sure the business

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officer because they're put in the SOP, do we have the tech start molding

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in those cybersecurity requirements that you will need to be compliant on?

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And then when push comes to serve, I've got a Rolodex of people.

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The only thing they do is compliance to certain frameworks.

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So it makes their jobs easier.

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To be able to come in here and do those sign-offs and to get you across that

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threshold, if I've worked in there at a broader scope, getting your mindset,

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not freaking out when somebody comes in there with the heavy hammer, which

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is something that I typically see now in the cybersecurity industry, because

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there's the big Delta between small businesses and the big large ones.

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And everybody has those experience in the big large ones, but we need to bring that

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and scale that down to the small ones.

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So anyway, it's bringing in the industry.

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Experts as needed in a deep dive niche, as well as being solutions agnostic.

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In my case, I am not adhered to any one of the Rolodex is

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finding the one that suits you.

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I'm not going to sit there and shove a particular software

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solution down your throat.

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But I probably will have recommendations for that.

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Another reason for an external advisor or consultant coming in

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is they can be long-term if you've got a trusting relationship.

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Or get in and get out there.

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There's no commitment based on that.

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So there are times I've been brought in to do a very specific short term

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project that may be just weeks where I'm specking out the strategy of something.

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And there are other times, like with a hand, a handful

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of clients that I have now.

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Maybe I started out on that initial engagement, but now I'm just the trusted

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advisor that I keep in contact with them.

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I know what is going on within the business.

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And they know they can reach out to me with questions or we set up

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dedicated times to do little check-ins to see what's happening, to see what

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is there a new initiative we need to take to get you to the next level,

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but there's no commitment either way.

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I've done both and other people do both.

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That's an advantage of having that and also allows you to find somebody

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that fits your company personality.

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Cause there's times where I've had a client where I'm going, all right.

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I want to get through this.

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They're not necessarily fit for me, but maybe they're a fit for somebody else.

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I know.

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So I definitely live in the realm of collaboration versus competition because

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not everybody's a fit for everybody.

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The last one.

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Most of the time you don't need to be taught something.

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Do you just need to be reminded of it?

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I can't tell you how many times I watched a YouTube video or how often I've read

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a book and I'm going, oh yeah, I forgot.

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So a consultant and a lot of times we'll just remind her of things

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you've forgotten along your journey, because you've been so deep in the

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weeds and that's what helps them get.

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You get, you pushed out of the rut that you're in and go, remember,

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this is what you initially set.

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You've got stuck in this path.

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Let's get you back on the growth trajectory by doing X, Y, Z.

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So a lot of times that's not bringing something new.

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It's just reminding you of where you want it to go.

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All.

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Again, just a quick wrap up.

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Those are 12 things they're not in any particular order.

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Not everyone needs a consultant.

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I'll probably do a reverse list of this at some point down the road on

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the circumstances I, or the companies and teams, I don't think need that.

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And also, they help when you get stuck and that's one of the best things

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that, that you can ever help hope for is to have someone that you can call

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to say, here's the issues I'm dealing.

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Personnel.

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I'm stuck.

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These processes are taking too long to be able to identify that and get

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you on the path that you want to go.

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So until the next one, I'm John Barker.

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Appreciate this.

About the Podcast

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The Business Samurai
Skills and Stories to be a Well-Rounded Leader in Business & Technology

About your host

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John Barker

20+ years of technology, cybersecurity, and project management experience. Improving business operations to create a culture of better cybersecurity and technology practices. John is the Founder of Barker Management Consulting and the creator of the Business Samurai Program.

MBA, PMP, CISSP