How a ‘virtual backroom’ is vital for future planning

Posted — Wednesday 05.11.2020

When you’re asking others for advice, how can you be sure that what they say is what is best for you and your business and not what’s best for them?

This is an important question, and it’s a problem that companies around the world encounter, often at the most challenging times.

Right now, things don’t get much tougher than this: Companies across the UK are facing very difficult decisions about their future and they need to be sure that every move will protect the long term sustainability and success of their organisation.

As well as being affected by the new lockdown, some may see their entire operating model become unsustainable in the ‘new normal’ post-pandemic, while others will need to restructure to maintain efficiency or to capitalise on new markets and opportunities.

So who do you ask for advice when you’re restructuring or reinvigorating the future of your business? 

Do you seek counsel from your directors and peers, or ask your managers, department heads, or the workers at the coal face? – Absolutely – but you must also get advice from a truly independent source who can look at your business objectively, impartially and with no level of self-interest.

This is because, no matter what people within your organisation might say, no-one can be completely objective when they’re discussing options that affect their own jobs and livelihoods. As well as this, by virtue of sharing the needs for change, you may also be conscious of the personal impact and anxiety that this information may have on the other person.

Where the best decisions are made

When it comes to making important decisions as a business leader, information is key, and this is why so-called ‘backroom decision making’ is an important part of running a successful business.

The boardroom isn’t always the best place for honest information

Away from the boardroom and out of earshot of shareholders, stakeholders and others within an organisation, a backroom is a place where discussions can take place outside of the official committees and meetings, involving independent voices who do not have a stake in the game.

Backroom meetings can be discrete and inconsequential conversations where people can speak honestly and frankly to tell it exactly how it is. Problems can be discussed without causing alarm and opportunities can be spotted without causing excitement or suspicion.

A well executed backroom meeting can be the perfect antidote to the official meetings we’ve all experienced, which – at their worst – can be rooms of nodding yes-men who smile and nod while also steering things to suit their own agendas, patting themselves on the back, taking credit for others work and making a good show of saying the right thing.

Sadly, with lockdown upon us, face to face meetings often can’t take place, but with home working now the norm, it’s never been easier to have a virtual backroom.

Why so sinister?

Of course, the very idea of backroom discussions makes them sound clandestine and subversive; and indeed, they can be very problematic if they’re misjudged or poorly organised, especially when they allow an interested party to bend the bosses ear to gain undue favour.

Like Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings, whose constant whispering in the king’s ear convinces him to exile his rightful heir while keeping Wormtongue by his side, backroom meetings with the wrong people can be disastrous.

While in-house experts, advisers, team leaders and department heads can be extremely helpful in guiding your decisions, it’s only natural for people to protect their own interests. As a result, whenever there are serious discussions to be had about reorganisations or restructures, no one will volunteer their own role or department for the chop, even when they know it’s what’s best for the business.

This is why it’s so important that the advice you get is from an impartial third party who can give honest advice and guidance without any desire for thanks or favour.

A trustworthy partner

At PCW Consulting, we can be the honest, impartial experts you can rely on, through a virtual backroom service for high level strategic modelling.

With years of experience at the highest levels of business leadership, human resources and business consultancy, we can provide you and your business with unrivalled insight, helping you to make the right decisions for the future.

Our independent perspective and completely impartial outlook enables us to identify the challenges, opportunities and strategies that can help you lead your business to a brighter future.

This pandemic has changed many things about business, but there’s never been a time when good, trustworthy advice has been more important.

To find out how we can help you, contact our team today.

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