Hi! It's nice to see you again! Have you run into one of us Ford sisters in the most unexpected place and wondered, "What do they do, exactly?"
The best way to explain our work is that we are communications problem solvers who focus on cultural inclusion. We use a special mix of behavioral and data science to create an authentic solution for getting folks on board with your vision. We are pioneering through the complexities of 5 different generations of U.S. residents working in the same place together. The U.S. has never experienced this in history.
Have you thought about how Baby Boomers (the wealthiest and 1st largest demographic in the U.S.) and Millennials (the financially dependent 2nd largest demographic in the U.S.) are going to reverse roles in the supply/demand chain in the next decade? We do more than think about it. We devise solutions for our clients that are proactively saving time, money, and improving outcomes by using tools that inspire authentic collaboration. This is the space we'd like to share some of our observations with you.
We see ourselves as bees who use query to get up, and out, to pollinate information and resources needed to produce sweet results! Each issue of The Curious Times will show you what we're up to and give insight into our methodology. We'll also ask you a question (or two), provide a personal perspective, and give you some more curiosities to chat about in your own hives. We invite you to consider how your values are articulated through other's points of view. We also ask that you include us in your work, too.
Small businesses are the oxygen of local economies. Your support and inclusion of FM! in your business communications are kinda like a workout for your org's cardiovascular system. Thank you for your support! It's an honor to serve.
Principal, Pioneer, Honored Big Sister to Jacobi Ford
THE GREAT POLLINATION
The FordMomentum! methodology is to connect humanity in an authentic way. We've got so much natural energy and curiosity that we find ourselves delivering and receiving information in the most curious ways!
CLICK the map to see where we've pollinated in the past 60 days! If there are areas you're in and think we can add value to your projects or we can drive collective impact, please Buzz Us!
BECAUSE YOU KNOW...SCIENCE
How To Know Your Consultant Is Working
If you do a general Google search on consultants, you’ll find more how-to’s on becoming a consultant than how-to’s on hiring the right fit. Why is that? This gap in information is what brings us here, now. Our primary goal as consultants is ensuring our work is sustainable, which includes ensuring our clients know what to expect and how to set expectations. (We found a decent guide on how to hire consultants, which we’ll share.)
As with anything, there are pros and cons of hiring a consultant. Before we get into that, what do consultants do? How can you tell if your consultant is effectively working for you? What are the pros and cons of hiring externally and how can you maximize the benefits?
Consultants provide a knowledgeable and/or innovative third party perspective on problem solving and directly or indirectly solve a particular problem for you. Essentially, consultants do what you ask; which is why it is important that you identify what your end goal is before the work starts. Hiring a consultant is not a totally hands-off process. In fact, if you only hear from your consultant at the beginning of a project and at the end to write a check, you didn't get your money's worth.
How can you tell if your consultant is effectively working for you? Communicate. This may sound like an obvious answer, considering how FordMomentum! is an actual communications consulting firm. Even if we weren’t, communication is key in hiring a consultant for a couple reasons. It allows the client to clearly express ideal end goals and understand limitations, while supporting the consultant's ability to get the job done.
In our work, we clarify by using in depth query, outline what each stage looks like, and use measurement tools to verify accuracy along the way. Our query is focused on internal operations for delivery, and external receipt and application through market research and engagement. Your consultant should ask questions of all components of your project beyond the obvious questions of budget, scale, time, and measurement. The value of these questions should equate to real improvements in internal and external usage, end users, and the user experience.
What are the pros and cons of hiring a consultant?
The con is consultants should be screened, which can be time consuming initially. If you are expecting the consultant to become a steadfast part of your company, it won’t happen. If it does happen, that consultant is no longer a consultant, they’re an employee. If you do not need a consultant, don’t hire one. We're not seeking to talk ourselves out of jobs here. We value integrity in our approach to maximizing resources, and show up ready to work; not collect a check. (Want to know how to hire a consultant? Check out this article.)
The pro is that consultants provide products and services to address needs that are not a part of your core competencies in a comprehensive way. They are ideal if you need extra manpower to navigate a dilemma or transition, strategize a new workable perspective, or expertise from a subject matter expert. Consultants are also more objective in problem solving and can employ a innovative sustainable solutions, or manage a re-haul of your existing infrastructure. (You can find more explanations for these reasons to hire consultants here.)
To maximize the benefit of your consultant, there are some boundaries that ease the process beyond clear communication. These are our top four:
- Designate a point of contact or internal project manager for your consultant. This person will act as a gatekeeper to your organization to ensure your consultant is on time and on budget. They will help your consultant provide the best outcomes for you.
- Know what went wrong. Often our clients come to us because they tried to solve something in-house or mistakenly hired a “cookie cutter” consultant that gave the client generic, inapplicable suggestions. Sharing what hasn’t worked in the past saves time and allows your consultant to best cater to where your organization is now and where you want it to be.
- Recognize when/if there is more work for your consultant to do. In one case, we identified that our client needed an entire communications team if they were to sustain and meet all the needs of the organization. We made recommendations for their team including measurement tools to ensure each hire could meet the organization's evolving demands. These suggestions were not in the initial scope of work, but helped the client achieve their long term goals.
- Be sure to check in with your consultant before they leave. Ask your consultant for actionable and sustainable advice and a pathway for knowledge transfer capabilities. Can the work continue when the consultant leaves? If so, how? These are questions your consultant needs to answer before moving on and will allow you to know what to do with the results of their work.
Your engagement matters because hiring a consultant is not a hands-off activity. The more information your consultant has about your particular pain points, successes, and ideals, the better they can find and implement solutions that address root cause and a pathway to actualizing your vision.
Remember, if your consultant isn’t asking, they aren’t working!
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION?
Is It About ME or YOU?
Who Are You When No One Is Watching?
We pose this question to school children and their families at conferences but this question is a vital one for anybody; who you are when no one is watching is an excellent measurement for character.
Typically the presentation title segues into identification and practice of what we call The Standards of Love. There are five standards that propel communities forward, however, right now we'll explain one of them: values.
Values, and the ability to articulate one's values, provide clear foundation and direction in curious times. Values are your constant. A core set of beliefs. Values can be difficult to highlight, especially in a fast paced America where it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction and unreal from real (no knock against virtual reality!). However, values and articulating them, serve as a beacon for yourself and others. This is what we try to convey in our presentations--the person you are when no one is watching is the person you truly are.
Recently I read a quote, "if the character of a person shifts simply because of who is in power, you have to question, did the person even have character to begin with?" I see this sometimes in subordinates. Within an organization one may feel compelled to internalize a company culture without second thought of what their own culture is, or how their personal culture can operate in tandem with their workspace. Imagine working in an organization that relies solely on what leadership deems as an appropriate measure of character; that’s like an ecosystem in which everything functions as a sheep. Sheep are great, no doubt, but there’s more to the animal kingdom than sheep, and to expect all subordinates to be sheep-like denies them an ability to maximize their productivity and value-add.
Even people who are of the same family or same friend group may not share the exact same values, which is a beautiful thing. Nuances in values allows people to contribute in authentic and complete ways to each other, their communities, and to themselves. A clear identification of values will also build strong relationships with those who share values vs. those who share aesthetic cultures. We recognize there is likely more in common between men and women who were reared and live within the same five mile radius than there is between all men or all women, for example.
My core values are an anchor in turbulent times, and a vision in building for future. They allow me to look beyond what I may initially perceive as an option that is/is not right for me and affirm my decision making. They allow me to see past color, past experiences, past expectations.
What do your values do for you?