A business by nature is always in transition, trying to get from one phase of the life-cycle to the next:
closure of some sort: dissolution, merger, IPO etc...
Each of these phases require a team with a different set of skills.
And then when the transition from one phase to the other is achieved, the team needs to get re-organized to meet the requirements of the new phase the business is in.
In addition to and independently from the internal tensions created by this constant change, there are natural tensions between the various stakeholders.
And there are many of them:
- external contractors
- other legal and fiscal stakeholders
Of course, you can always manage the tensions through open communication, and most of the time this is good enough. This is where a strong company culture makes a big difference, because everybody's interest tends to be more aligned, thus minimizing the risk of friction.
But then again and typically over time untold issues accumulate. Some problems will disappear because the people involved will leave, but some tension will also slowly build up because not everybody has the option of getting out: investors need an exit strategy, the entrepreneur needs a transition plan, etc...
This is when you need a trusted advisor: think of it as your doctor, and as doing regular checkups.
When it comes to your health, you would probably agree that prevention is better than waiting until the problem starts surfacing.
Similarly for a business it is much better to check the health of the relationships within the business rather than wait until the business is in trouble.
And the person you need should be from the outside, free of any potential conflict of interest so that the all stakeholders can have a truly open discussion with him/her.
It should not be the company lawyer, because you would not want him to know too much about you personally.
It should not be the company CPA because you may want to keep your own financial issues for yourself.
It should be somebody at the heart of the business ecosystem that all stakeholders can trust without second thoughts. Somebody who can pull in the necessary resources and work with them to help resolve issues without being responsible for the direct execution a specific task (which may create conflict of interest). The general contractor who will coordinate the work between the architect and the various contractors on the job.
What you will get
A trusted advisor who will listen and can bring into the discussion his own prospective from many years of business experience
- A trusted neutral third party to provide mediation between all the stakeholders within the business ecosystem at large
If you agree that your business would be better off with such a person, please contact me: marc at dangeard dot com