Very soon will be the one-year anniversary of my decision to leave the corporate world and go back on my own as a strategy & marketing advisor/consultant. Oddly enough, it wasn’t a difficult decision, it came quickly and once I made it the world seemed a lot brighter…. but that is for another article.
I was very fortunate that I had no shortage of opportunity to come my way when I restarted C4, and many were eager for my help. As I dove in to assist my new clients, what became apparent was how much money was spent, in many cases wasted, with little to no return. I quickly realised, as much as my help was wanted, affordability of execution was going to be the challenge.
I could write, plan and budget the most effective programs to deliver results that are powerful, maybe even explosive, (just tying the C4 connection back in) but I can’t simply hand my clients a stellar plan and hope it works out. Many companies I work with have limited people expertise or in some cases none at all. And, like most things, they waited until the eleventh hour to realise they needed to make a change.
It’s not in my DNA to simply just walk away and hope for the best, I need to see it through. But how was I going to generate the outcome needed as a team of one, okay 1.5 if you count the four legged office assistant? And more importantly how was I going to do it in a cost-effective way. Anyone who has worked with me knows how much I hate over paying for disappointment.
Throughout my career I have been incredibly fortunate to meet and work with some of the best talents on this planet. If there was a time that LinkedIn served a purpose for me it was going to be now, as I reached out to reconnect with a number of them. It was exciting to learn, like me, perspective had changed and many of them were no longer lost in 100s of emails and meetings, having too, made the decision to find “the balance”.
I quickly came to realise that I had an entire network of happy, more productive experts at my ready, wanting to assist me in the execution. With most having come from the corporate world they clearly understand that the world no longer operates 9-5 behind a desk. Like anything there was the odd teething problem. Most notably me not appreciating time zones, school holidays, sports and lessons. But there are a lot of tools out there now that can create an availability calendar that makes the management of this sort of thing very simple.
What I do find interesting is the incredible work ethic and effort of this “work from home” culture. They understand that in order to maintain the lifestyle they want and live in the present, their hours must be highly flexible, productive, get the job done right the first time and utilising the most effective tools available. Very few of the team work regular hours, in fact, most work longer hours than standard employment. Yet, every time I ask if it is too much, I always get back a firm “no” as it does not seem like long hours when the work is done around what matters.
The essential key to using the flexible workforce, is understanding our clients. Our clients not only see the benefits through the results but also in the costs savings. The lack of overhead means that we are a truly cost effective global ecosystem. Everyone has something they need last minute. For us, it means we have people at the ready. The world is not 9-5 anymore and neither are the needs of our clients or their customers. Whether it be a full plan, end to end execution or a single project, we can manage what is needed, anytime – anywhere.
When I discuss the C4 construct with clients or potential clients, I am regularly asked about collaboration. How do we stay on top of the latest and greatest? Technology is a key part of the recipe, but effort is the essential ingredient. We make a conscious effort to stay connected, speak regularly, in some cases daily and are committed to never going more than 48 hours with not keeping in touch. This is the aspect that I enjoy most. With this global network at my ready, I am able to learn what is happening around the world. The anytime-anywhere workforce recognises they have to be diligent in staying on top of their craft and what is happening in their space. The sharing of knowledge, technology and experiences has been invaluable to me. It truly keeps me feeling connected as well as gives me ideas and insights into new ways to tackle things for our customers.
Anyone who has experienced the pressure of the corporate world most likely has worked for someone who insists that you be in the office, who hates it when people work from home, who gladly points out who is the last to leave the office every night. It is also this archaic ideal that simply doesn’t understand, hard work and exceptional quality can be delivered from anywhere. Work life balance is not just a right, it’s an essential need. With a little effort it can be the difference between getting it done and quality, at C4 we are proof that it works.
Written By Tracy Weller-McCormack