Friday, June 3, 2011

The Mechanic and The Cleaner

I saw the movie The Mechanic last weekend and the violence aside, I related it to what I do as a consultant. Really!
For those of you who have not seen the movie nor understand the term mechanic, it is a person who is well skilled at their craft. They are a professional in a wide variety of areas and are hired by different individuals to “solve problems”. Now in this Hollywood Script, the problems are people who the mechanic is hired to eradicate and make it look like an accident. Leaving the eradication aside,  the idea of being broadly and deeply experienced in a variety of areas and knowledgeable about many things is what I could relate to. I often am hired to be in a specific role with specific skills but due to circumstances, organizational structure, and more, I often find myself relying upon expertise in all of my toolkit: operations, marketing and management. I don’t ‘eradicate’ anyone, however, I do bring a vast set of skills that can be used and tapped into if the situation calls for it -which it often does.  I view this as a real value-add to my clients. They don’t get a specialist in one area, they get a specialist in the three major areas of business and they are so integrated that knowing each and knowing the whole is to my client’s advantage.   
Another term used in Hollywood mob style movies is the Cleaner. This is a person who is called in after a crime has taken place to remove all evidence of the occurrence.  Occasionally, you will see this character in political or greed motive mystery movies as well. Ironically, I can relate to that position too! Again, not in the felony sense, but in the sense of coming in after the ‘damage’ has been done and fixing things so that a business will operate as if the mistakes never happened and it is set to survive and even flourish.
In business, we use words like, rebrand, re-engineer, reorganize, etc. but when it comes down to it, we are talking about mechanics and cleaners. The thought of using those titles is amusing to me as it makes me look at titles like CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and wonder if somewhere someone thinks of it as Chief Mechanic Officer. And then, there is the Cleaner, I suppose that would be your typical CCO!
If you haven’t seen the film yet and like that type of movie, watch it. But watch it through a business person’s eyes and look for the traits of a good Mechanic – well skilled, strategic yet flexible, plans ahead for all possible outcomes and succeeds at the end.
Have a great weekend!

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