How easy is it to move from Senior Consultant to MD?

How easy is it to move from Senior Consultant to MD?

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it – either personally, or we know someone that has attempted it and hopefully even succeeded; that superstar consultant, who just got it from their first month and was very successful. They grow with their company over a few years and then hit the point where their entrepreneurial spirit takes over and they make the leap to “I’m going to set up and do this on my own”.

Over 17,000 recruitment agencies have been set up in the UK in the past 4 years, and the majority of these would be individuals or under 5 staff.

Whether they start on their own, or with a few trusted partners, the company is usually in profit within a couple of months… everything is going well and the temptation to expand to take advantage of the momentum is strong.

So the Senior Recruitment Consultant is now the MD of a thriving start up business.

What tends to happen next is something that I’ve seen in many recruitment companies and for which I get phone calls asking me to shed some light on what’s happening — even this week I’ve had one meeting with one company and another contact me today to discuss this very issue — “Why is it that once the team gets to 6 or more, it stops running so smoothly?”

There are many reason for this, here are just some: –

  1. It’s easy for 4 or 5 people to sit close to each other in an office and for everyone to keep tabs on what’s happening and to therefore self-police. When it gets to 6, this dynamic ceases and separate elements (cliques) start to appear.
  2. You probably set the company up with some people in mind that you wanted to work with. They’re likely to have the same work ethic as you as well as proven capabilities. Now you need to hire… and we all know the potential issues that come with that – it’s why we have such a thriving recruitment industry in the first place!
  3. Whilst it’s a small business, you can be a billing MD. When your team grows, so does the element of management and leadership, taking you away from creating the day-to-day success of the company.
  4. You now have to make a decision as to which area you want to spend most time and due to human nature, you’ll pick the activities that you enjoy the most, not necessarily the ones that you should be doing.
  5. Your newer members of staff need to be inducted into the processes and the culture of the business, but if you haven’t spent time defining what these are, then it’s not a surprise when they don’t ‘quite’ fit in.

I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve observed one or more of these in the past.

So what needs to be done to avoid the above?

Here’s a 10 point plan to make sure that the above doesn’t happen.

  1. Even if you’re just one person, but your aim is to grow your company, then think about the processes, standards and procedures you want embedded into the culture before you start… and make sure you follow them yourself!
  2. What culture do you want to promote? Establish your own personal values and build the business around those, that way you’ll always be able to stay true to who you are.
  3. When bringing in new staff, ask them to identify their own personal values and make sure that they will enhance the business and not detract from it.
  4. Put some time and effort into creating your 3-year business plan. Years two and three will be overview objectives, but year one needs to be broken down into monthly milestones and shared with the team.
  5. Share your business plan with the team and update every quarter as to how successful you were for the past quarter and ask for solutions on how you are going to achieve the next quarter focus areas.
  6. Work with the team to create your Vision. By getting their input on where you want to be in a year’s time, you’ll also get their commitment to the Vision.
  7. Create a three-month induction programme, for all. The experienced staff will be able to fast track it, but don’t make any assumptions. Make every take the assessments incorporated into your onboarding, so you have no surprises later on.
  8. Set up minimum acceptable standards for not just activity levels, but behaviours and results as well. These are not targets, they are minimums for everyone in the company to exceed, which means that you’ll be in business for a long time as well as having consistency in your billings.
  9. Make sure that performance management is a key element of every day, and make the individuals are responsible for the monitoring and updates. Have weekly 1-1 meetings of 10-15 minutes, monthly performance reviews, quarterly business plan reviews and make sure that your annual appraisal (and half yearly review) is about the person and not the business. The key is that the individual is accountable and they are updating you on their plans and what they’ve achieved.
  10. Finally, make sure that you are developing yourself. Many successful recruitment owners had not been in high level management positions before, so don’t be afraid to create a support structure for yourself i.e. a mentor, coach, training & development partners etc. – otherwise, who are you going to be responsible to?

If you’re currently in this situation, then review the ten-point plan and see what’s missing. If you would like some documents to help you move forward, then feel free to contact Angela on [email protected]

Angela Cripps

Angela Cripps has worked within the recruitment industry for over 25 years and runs Connemara UK Ltd. Her career started as a recruitment consultant, where she recruited both temporary and permanent staff for Blue Arrow in Catering, Industrial, Healthcare and Commercial sectors. She is now an Executive Coach, Mentor, NED and Trainer for the recruitment industry.

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