We are lucky enough to have not worked with anyone quite with the characteristics of Dickens’ Scrooge and Marley but can draw some similarities in the structure of businesses we’ve worked with this year. Dickens’ famous miser was forced to re-evaluate his life and look at his past, present and future and embrace the Christmas spirit the whole year round. We’ve, so far, been able to avoid resorting to the supernatural when reviewing a client’s business and working with them to make improvements, but Jacob Marley’s format is something that we’ve stayed true to nonetheless.
It starts with the past
With many new EEF clients, we’ve firstly sought to fully understand their past, their business foundations and background. As Scrooge’s first night-time visitor was able to show, taking time to reflect upon and remember why you started in business and recapture some of your organisations original values can be very helpful. So often, we spend so much time working “in” our businesses that we forget to work “on” then and lose sight of why we started in the first place.
Your place in the present
It is important to take the time to appreciate your place in the market, your reputation and how your business is performing. In many examples this year, our consultant’s starting point has been to carry out a detailed situation analysis to look at the present state of the business.
Had Bob Cratchit and Mr Scrooge been operating a 360 degree review system within their office, perhaps the famous Christmas spiritual intervention would not have been necessary – it certainly would have made Scrooge more aware of the damage done by his working practices.
Looking to the future
Knowing where you are and where you’ve been is all well and good, but you need to understand where you’re heading (or where you will end up if things don’t change as Scrooge saw) if you are to build and improve. Set goals and understand what you need to change if you are to achieve your goals. When it comes to areas like staff training, it’s important to know what you want as a result before you start.
Marley’s third and final spirit certainly had the desired effect on Scrooge and brought about a significant change. We’d like to have seen him set a few SMART targets though.
A framework for change
The Christmas break and New Year bring fresh energy, optimism and focus to us all. EEF’s Business Consultants work with a number of businesses throughout the year, helping them to understand how to bring about the changes that are necessary in their companies and importantly, ensure that they are changes that last for a lifetime instead of a single day.
Scrooge & Marley would have been a very challenging client and we’re not going to say that we wouldn’t have resorted to Marley’s tactics, but what’s life without a challenge.