Have you ever watched an episode of the PBS classic Antiques Roadshow; wherein someone brings in an old, dusty heirloom that they bought for $1 at a garage sale, only to find out that it is worth thousands (if not millions) of dollars. Frozen with shock, people often say, “I had no idea! It was just sitting in the corner collecting dust this whole time.”
Some people see trash; some recognize value. Only an expert can differentiate between the two. The same can apply to business. An organization’s strategy can be worth very little, or it can make them very prosperous. What is the key? Getting expert advice to guide you toward the right path.
Take, for example, the story of an unlucky uncle and nephew duo. In Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich,” he tells a story about an uncle and nephew who where caught up by the “Gold Fever” back in the 1800’s. After weeks of labor they were rewarded by the discovery of shinning ore. They needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. So they staked their claim, quietly covered up the mine, retraced their footsteps and told their relatives and a few neighbors of the strike. They collected money for the needed machinery and headed back to their claim to work their mine.
The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest gold mines in Colorado. A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts, then would come the big killing in profits.
Down went the drills and up went the hopes of the uncle and nephew. Then something happened. The vein of gold ore disappeared. They had come to the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold was no longer there. They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again – all to no avail. Finally, without any expert advice, they decided to quit.
They sold the mine and machinery to a junk man for pennies on the dollar and took the train back home. The junk man called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the uncle and nephew had stopped drilling! The junk man took millions of dollars in gold from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.
As I read this story, I easily drew a parallel to organizations that find themselves suddenly stuck in a neutral position and believe that there is no more room for growth. Most of these organizations have executives that are smart and possess great business acumen, however a vast majority of them resist the opportunity to seek and receive expert outside advice and counsel. They are used to being in charge and having people look to them for answers. That’s what they were hired for, right?
Unfortunately, this pattern can become habit-forming, leading business executives to feel they should have all the answers. While self-reliance is a virtue that has built some great organizations, I also see it as an obstacle to efficiently solving today’s complex business problems. From my experience it is not unusual for small business owners and non-profit leaders to be hesitant in seeking outside professional advice – even when there is compelling evidence that outside counsel and advice will help.
According to a survey done by BizJump Consulting, 86% of businesses confirmed that the professional assistance they received helped them to become successful. The survey also revealed that these businesses increased their ability to obtain funding by 20%. The results of this study clearly indicate that getting professional advice can produce tangible benefits for businesses.
So, before you discard that business plan or strategy as not being of any value, why not let a pair of expert eyes help you to determine its real worth. Lest you suffer the fate of the uncle and son mentioned before, if you’re feeling stalled in your organization and can’t seem to find ways to accelerate growth, seek help; you may be three feet from gold and not even know it!
About the Author:
Gabriel Najera is the president & founder of the Najera Consulting Group. Gabriel is a frequent speaker to organizations. And, is a highly sought after advisor to corporate and nonprofit executives looking to develop a strategic thinking mindset.
Gabriel is the author of the forthcoming book, Lessons From the Field: From Farmworker to Fortune 500 Consultant. Gabriel is available to speak to your organization. To inquire about scheduling Gabriel for an upcoming speaking engagement or to inquire about our consulting services, please click on this link.