If Only I Knew Then What I Know Now


By Chris Gandy

How often do you find yourself thinking something like: “If only I knew then what I know now”?

I seem to be thinking that quite a bit lately, particularly as Cause & Effective grows and we assist more and more Causes to realise the benefits of contingent resourcing.

During my CEO days, our organisation, like all others, had its share of thorny problems. And typically we had a hierarchy of responses which went something like this:

  1. Let’s suck it up and try to wing it ourselves. This was by far the cheapest response but not necessarily the most effect. Sure I had the good fortune of working with some highly talented people but they were also flat-out on day-to-day operational matters. Pulling people off-line to deal with a big issue meant we were often robbing Peta and pay Pauline! One problem may have been solved but other opened up on other fronts.
  2. The Chairman knows a retired Bank Manager through Rotary and he might be able to help. Again a relatively cheap option but often created more problems than it solved. And how do we tell the person thanks but no thanks especially when they have delayed that holiday just to help us?  
  3. What about Jane? She did a reasonable consulting job for us last time. We know this isn’t quite in her area but she’s pleasant, knows the organisation and doesn’t charge the earth. For some reason I always felt this option tended to give us about 75% of the solution. Somehow they missed it by this much!
  4. Ask for a quote from the big end of town. You will be familiar with this scenario – you almost go into cardiac arrest when reading the proposal. Go straight to Plan B which is to drastically review the scope. Admittedly often the Consulting Company tries to come to the party by assigning a relatively junior member of staff to the project to reduce costs. In the end you either gulp and pay an exorbitant fee or decide to go back to your first option and do it in-house.

In fondly reflecting on each of these scenarios that I have been through more than once during my working life I can’t help but think our Cause would have significantly benefited if we knew how to quickly find and engage affordable subject matter experts to help us deal with these problems. You see:

I now know…….

  • All manner of fantastic subject matter experts exist. And through changes in workforce patterns and advances in technology this pool is growing wider and deeper.
  • Contingent resourcing providers like Cause & Effective are making it easier to quickly find the right expert for your particular need.
  • These experts are highly affordable. There are two main reasons for this. One is the competition between the experts themselves which is serving to rein in hourly and daily rates. The second is less obvious and relates to time on a task. Today time is money and what we tend to find is that true subject matter experts take much less time to complete a task than the more generalist consultants we may have used in the past.

… I only wish I knew it then!

About Chris:  Chris Gandy is the founder and a director of Cause and Effective – an organisation dedicated to assisting cause-based organisations maximise their social impact through permanent and contingent resourcing

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s