Why The World Would End Without Contractors

Posted 21st Jan 2015

Your finance director has just been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure (personal financial irregularities), your operations director has announced she will go on maternity leave in the coming months, and the IT Director has just requested a six month sabbatical to explore South America (which you are contractually obliged to grant). Unfortunately, you are the Chairman of an ethical investment fund that helps supply clean water, sanitation, sustainable farming and other vital projects for millions of people. Without the right personnel in the right places, the world will, literally, end for millions people. Your fate, and the fate of countless, will have to be put into the hands of interim managers and contractors. They need to be able to parachute into the project, seamlessly pick-up from the previous incumbent, ignore the politics (or use them to the advantage of the project), take charge in an instant and deliver a project or programme of works that would test the most experienced manager. That’s why contractors are so good, because they can do all of this in abundance and, in most cases, a considerable amount more.

Okay, so that’s quite an extreme example, but possible. Imagine instead the biggest international supplier of heart monitors can’t find the software developers it desperately needs to correct serious bugs and develop a new, stable platform. Not only does this heart monitor manufacturer have problems sourcing full-time staff, but every other heart monitor manufacturer is experiencing the same permanent skills shortage. All of a sudden the experience and specialism of contract/interim software developers becomes vital to the lives of millions of people around the globe. The contract developers may fundamentally be writing lines of code, but their multitude of one’s and zero’s will save lives - instant access to the experience of a talent pool allows organisations with an urgent need to plug expertise gaps quickly and, in some instances, save lives.

Could you, a business owner, unclog a drain and undertake the accounting with the relevant contemporary knowledge of a trained, experienced professional? Do you have the skills to network your router? Can you manage a project for six months whilst taking care of the duties of a business owner? The answer to all of these questions is of course no. You need the skills of professionals outside your organisation, people that can lend their expertise for a fixed period of time, who know that when their duties are done, they are free to move on to another assignment. Even the London Olympics had a contractor at the head; Lord Sebastian Coe was an interim manager - brought in for a fixed term, with specific project deliverables. Okay, so his title was Chairman, but in essence he is/was an interim senior manager.

Contractors and interims provide key skills and industry experience on tap. They have defined parameters and are accountable for their work entirely. They are the take-charge experts who have immediate impact on a project. Baggage-free, non-partisan specialists who cut to the chase and get the job done. The world might not end without contractors, but the wheels of industry and commerce would certainly grind to a halt.

Photography courtesy and copyright of 드림포유

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