This is part one of a two-part series focused on finding a “rain maker” for SME (small-medium enterprise) engineering, consulting and construction firms. This is an expansion of last year’s SME Engineering & Consulting Challenges series.
Last year I published a post discussing the dependency of Rain Makers for SME engineering, consulting and construction firms. I indicated it can be a good growth strategy when implemented correctly. I also warned of the disappointments frequently encountered by both large and small firms. In this post I will discuss a decision-making process that will improve your odds of making a good choice for your next rain maker.
The first step in the process is to clearly understand “why” you are searching for your next rain maker. The responses of “to increase revenue” or “to replace a former employee” are too simple if they are not linked to your clearly defined and agreed upon growth strategy. This strategy should include the types of clients you are targeting and the types of services you offer or plan to offer. If you are unsure of either or both key strategic components you will find it difficult to find the best candidates. Also, there is a tendency to choose among what is available at the time. Lack of clarity and the rush to hire are frequent contributors to failed rain maker hires.
SME’s may consider hiring this person to help them figure out the gaps in their strategy. If this is the case, you should consider hiring an outside consultant to help you identify these gaps. The use of a consultant allows you to leverage their expertise and experience without having to add a full-time person to your payroll. The usual gaps are lack of client and operational experience. Gaps in either can cause delays in capturing the targeted work, present client satisfaction challenges and negatively impact profitability during the initial stages of strategy execution. The management team should acknowledge these risks in their planning and apply appropriate risk management strategies to minimize these risks.
Now that you have made your strategic decision on “why” you are searching for your next “rain maker” you can incorporate the results into your job description and search criteria. This is also a good time to critically review your list of core competencies expected for someone in this role. Just recycling the old job description bullets can lead to confusion and unnecessary screening.
In the next article I will focus on the selection process, onboarding and use of metrics & milestones to monitor your new rain maker hire.
Jerry Strub is the CEO and founder of Strategic Growth Consulting, Inc. Jerry has led global and domestic growth strategies for over 30+ years in the engineering, environmental consulting, environmental services and construction industries. He has over 25 years of training, coaching and mentoring engineers and scientists on improving their business development skills and improving organizational business development practices. He is an advisory board member of two Chinese environmental firms and serves as an advisor and connector of CleanTech and engineering services between North America and China.
Strategic Growth Consulting, Inc.
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