We all find ourselves in situations both at home and at work when we need help from others across a wide range of subjects, some trivial but many serious and life/career affecting.
Knowing when to ask for help can make huge differences to life and commercial outcomes but there are lots of barriers to doing so, some revolve around loss of face, perhaps inherent lack of confidence in others whilst there may also be concern over cost and trust issues.
It can be really difficult to ask for help because of the way it’s seen by others – perhaps perceived as a sign of weakness, self-confidence issues or a lack of anticipated knowledge.
This can as equally apply to individuals as to companies/organisations.
Energy people need help too
If viewed logically the call for help needs to be focused on a party which can provide that help.
For lawyers, doctors and accountants that need is fairly clear. When it comes to more recent additions to the professions the lines are far more blurred. Energy & water management come into this category for sure – serious cost, reputational and environmental implications for end users if not managed to a professional standard.
There are companies that have failed to heed the very high level of publicity and widespread regulation around energy and water over recent years.
In many cases these failures are profit-affecting and can put the core business at risk from not having considered energy implications beyond the limited level of internal expertise.
Surely there is an inherent skill in knowing when to contact a subject expert or consultant who can place a perspective on the issue in question.
It’s curious then that many organisations have chosen over recent years to reduce their internal knowledge, whether through job cuts or skill dilution.
Who decides to seek help?
Who will initiate the search for the right help when often it’s a case of not knowing what isn’t known? A brief will always be required to specify the right level of help from the right party. A risk matrix featuring the key criteria would highlight the need very quickly.
A qualified professional will usually resolve both strategic and tactical problems quickly and efficiently but, as always, there will be a cost attached.
Doing nothing will cost you!
Whether the cost is worth it is very much down to the business. So senior executives need to consider the opportunity cost of inaction more often, especially when thinking about energy, water and carbon.
The cost of all these will rise significantly in coming years and in doing so will pose threats to operating costs and ultimately profits.
Most can benefit from asking for help now to ensure they’re prepared for what lies ahead over coming years.
Failure to do so will potentially result in costs which far outweigh the cost of seeking the right help at the right time.
Mervyn Bowden is the MD of Intuitive Energy Solutions