Freelancers: Agile Talent For Your Organization

While cruising through the Harvard Business Review online http://hbr.org, I happened upon an article that told of a most interesting book that has good information for Freelance consultants and those who hire us.  Agile Talent was written by two experts in the talent development, leadership and strategic HR fields,  Jon Younger and Norm Smallwood and published just last month.

The book was written as a guide for the growing number of organizations that rely on professionals like us to come through in the clutch and get the job done,  on time and within budget.  Getting the most out of a team comprised of internal and external talent is the book’s theme.  I read an excerpt and confirmed that within,  the book contains as well a few pearls of wisdom for you and me,  primarily providing us with a new and improved way to package and promote our services to potential clients.

As Smallwood and Younger point out, so many organizations–for-profit and not-for-profit, late-stage and start-up, large and small–continue to rely on Freelance consultants to augment their lean workforces when insufficient expertise (or time) exists in-house.  Salaries are a large fixed expense on Income Statements and organizations for 30 years have been loathe to hire a worker unless the skill set is frequently needed to keep the business operating.  The authors provide useful recommendations to those who hire,  collaborate with or manage the external talent,  so that good outcomes for all parties can result.

Agile Talent Freelancers allow organizations to access the services needed only for the scope aand length of time that the organization requires.  We bring great insight, heightened productivity and relevant experience to countless organizations.  Yet organization decision-makers and those with whom we collaborate are sometimes unsure of what to expect from the arrangement with the agile talent,  or how to successfully onboard and work with us.

In order to maintain or expand our billable hours,  it is imperative that we are able to anticipate how the relationship might go off the rails and come to an unfortunate parting of the ways.  Before encountering a prospective client,  we must communicate our benefits  to them.  Packaging and promotion are essential when selling an intangible service.  Intangibles are the most difficult sale and in the knowledge economy,  these specialties represent a large percentage of B2B sales dollars.

So how can we exert some measure of influence and get ourselves paid?  It is aalways necessary for us to sell our expertise,  trustworthiness and usefulness.  When organizations are faced with a….

  • Project
  • Challenge
  • Opportunity

….the agile (or external) talent tag line gives us another way to communicate our benefits to decision-makers.  Incorporating the resonant buzz words makes us look smart and capable and makes hiring managers and project sponsors feel that they’ll look smart to superiors and subordinates when they bring us on.  Inertia,  that is,  tabling a decision indefinitely because leaders lack the confidence to move forward except in the most obvious emergencies,  is the  Freelance consultants most formidable competitor.  Anything that we can do or say to persuade prospects to become clients is a win-win.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

 

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