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Do you want to share my aircraft carrier?
By Adrian Hobbs

"What could I possibly learn from the military that is relevant to my business?" you might ask. Well, Phil Knight, the founder of corporate giant Nike once said, "business is war without bullets". The only weapons we need are cash, products and a sales team to attack the enemy.

Many lessons have already been learnt from the military in years gone by, and much of the strategic talk in the boardroom adopts old military language as we "attack competitors" and "defend ourselves" from the enemy. The recent news of military co-operation with France to create an Anglo-French rapid reaction force struck a familiar note here at Flex - after all, we are in the business of providing an on-demand rapid supply of staff to our clients.

The key words in the Government's statement aside from "share an aircraft carrier" and "save money" were "resources are tight", "closer co-operation", "information sharing," "pool resources" and "serve both interests". All of these scenarios apply to the business environments we find ourselves in today, but, the opportunity to capitalise on this close co-operation in business has not been fully realised.

"OK, so what?" you might ask. In these times of austerity measures, business survival and success may be dependent on closer ties. On a day by day basis, I hear of managers stuck in the groove of not bothering to understand what a supplier is actually capable of, or willing to explore opportunities for closer co-operation. Establishing such ties may in turn result in the better utilisation of resources or sharing of information that enables each party to understand better what could be achieved, that in turn improves efficiency or reduces costs.

At FlexPlus for instance, we have developed advanced systems and skills designed to reduce the cost of finding and hiring staff in order to deliver an excellent service. We handle this process extremely well, if I do say so myself. Occasionally though, I get a few calls saying "Adrian, could you help us reduce our cost per hire?" or "What's the best way to find warehouse operatives for our new warehouse which opens in three weeks time?". It would seem like madness to give this information out, but, actually the opposite is true. Information sharing often points to an organisation's core competencies and systems being superior and more cost effective and in my experience, almost always leads to new business relationships.

At FlexPlus we haven't got an aircraft carrier to share with you but we have a fine flexible workforce, carefully screened and vetted for work. We also have some very experienced people who can assist you with the new Agency Worker Regulations. We have also acquired some superb tools to help you find staff next year and we have all the support you need if you are considering growth in 2011 but don't want to make a commitment yet in terms of permanent positions. I am happy to collaborate if you can see the opportunity.

Added: 10th December 2010

With over 25 years experience in making businesses more efficient, Adrian Hobbs is a pioneer in lean business modeling, employee development and change management.  Find out more about Adrian's company Flex Recruitment.

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