Archives for November 2012

Conjunctive Objectives

I am laying claim to this term and betting that you will find it as helpful as I do for strategic planning.

A conjunction is a word that links independent clauses or ideas to form a single sentence. Thanks to Mrs. Egan, my elementary school teacher, for her excellent instruction in grammar.  In the case of setting objectives, the conjunction that is most powerful is “while”.

Consider these objectives:

  • Increase or maintain employee engagement scores at current levels while achieving a 10% reduction in expenses.
  • Grow sales of the new product line by 15% while increasing sales of existing product line by 5%.
  • Increase customer loyalty while maintaining profitability margins.

Conjunctive objectives are akin to Kaplan’s concept of the balanced scorecard.  Success in achieving one objective should not come at the expense of another key element of the strategy.  Conjunctive objectives also reduce employee perception of “competing objectives” because it is clear that both must be achieved.

Technically, “while” is a subordinating conjunction, but I will leave that to the Mrs. Egans of the world to explain.

Easing into Consulting

I recently was asked for advice on how a fully employed person could ease into Human Resources consulting. The financial risks of jumping ship and starting a consulting business from scratch seemed very high to this person, and to many others whom I have mentored.

Here are the ideas we explored:

  1. Get clear on what services you will offer, and can offer on a part time basis. Small scale HR projects, and work that can be completed at night or on weekends are two possibilities.
  2. Stick to work from clients and sectors that do not compete with your full time employer.
  3. Align with small boutique consulting firms that may have a need for part time associates to deal with peaks and valleys of client requests.
  4. Nurture your network. Those who are fully employed are often so focused and drained by their internal work commitments that they neglect their relationships in the outside business community.
  5. Develop a business plan for your consulting business, and continuously refine as you transition from employment to consulting.
  6. Educate yourself about consulting. I recommend Flawless Consulting by Peter Block and The Consultant’s Calling by Geoff Bellman as good foundational reading.
  7. Use vacation days if face-to-face work is required.
  8. When you have sufficient business, transition to a three or four-day work week.
  9. Continue to invest in your professional and personal development while you are employed and when you have made the leap into consulting.
  10. Enjoy the journey!
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