here’s a famous old saying attributed to legendary car manufacturer Henry Ford. In response to a question about understanding his market, he is alleged to have said: “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”

It’s a quote about cars – but there are similarities to significant parts of the recruitment market.

For organisations going through a major transformation for the first time, doing so can be a daunting prospect. Often they simply ‘won’t know what they don’t know’, which is one of the biggest risks in any change programme.

In the transformation space, knowing where you want to get to is the easy part. Understanding how you get there – and asking the right questions along the way – is the tricky but critical element.

All businesses instinctively fear the unknown, and the feedback from our clients is that they value being able to talk to a partner who can offer genuinely fresh perspective – and even a ‘translation’ and development of what their needs are. It’s the reason why BIE took the strategic decision in 2014 to build a consultancy expertise to run alongside its functional recruitment teams.

This ‘hybrid’ alternative – part consultancy, part recruitment – is attractive to organisations because it allows them to retain more control of their programme, whilst at the same time building a legacy of capability within their organisation.

This will be all the more relevant for those organisations that have continuous improvement at the core of what they do and who will no doubt undergo further transformation type initiatives further down the line.

At BIE we see it as an educational piece – giving our clients an insight into the art of the possible and then helping them identify the people solutions to deliver it.

We support business leaders to make an informed choice for their transformation initiative and explore questions they will need to ask in order to get the best possible value out of their arrangements and clarity of the alternative delivery options open to them.

Henry Ford understood the key principle in business that the customer doesn’t always know what they want. We understand that business transformation doesn’t always require a faster horse.

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