Are you a juggler? Perhaps you’re a plate-spinner? Spot fire putter-outer-er? Or maybe a furious water treader? Whichever metaphor you prefer, it’s a common management dilemma right across Australia. Seemingly infinite responsibilities, counter-balanced by a decidedly finite amount of time and money to address them. No wonder they’re feeling stressed!
As David Allen, a globally-respected productivity consultant and author of ‘Getting Things Done’, rightly explains of modern business managers: “You can do anything, but not everything.” The key, of course, is identifying which of those responsibility balls you really do need to juggle yourself, and which ones you might be better served throwing – aka, delegating – to someone else, be they in your business or an external partner.
Where the necessary skills (or capacity) don’t already exist within your business, outsourcing makes a lot of sense. This can especially be the case with mid-sized businesses who are often operating without dedicated departments for important functions such as Human Resources.
It’s natural to feel you’re reducing business costs and maintaining control by keeping HR tasks in house. But for big decisions, such as key hires or restructures, it’s almost always a false economy, especially when you take into account the impact of opportunity cost and the myriad of other things you’re already juggling – such as client and stakeholder relationships, new business, forecasting, project delivery and more. Engaging HR experts will almost always bring superior results in shorter time-frames and, ultimately, be far more cost effective for your business and less stressful for you.
Of course, not everyone offers HR the same level of support, so it’s important to be clear about what you do and don’t expect from the outset. Be aware that some HR ‘experts’ are very much project based, preferring to drop in for a specific task, then hand you an invoice and disappear again. That may well suit you. However time and again we’ve found the best outcomes typically come from forging genuine and ongoing partnerships based on a deep understanding of your business and its structures. This approach allows your HR partner to shape a longer-term view of your business and add considerably more value as a direct result. It also means should you ever find yourself juggling too many balls, you’ll have a safe pair of hands always ready to step in and catch them – long before they crash to the ground in an expensive mess.
If only we could all be like Alex Barron, the British performer who holds the current juggling world record – 13 beanbags juggled for 15 catches (see video). Now that’s a safe pair of hands…